Hiroshi Mori (writer)
December 7, 1957 |
Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Hiroshi Mori (森 博嗣 Mori Hiroshi?, born December 7, 1957) is a Japanese writer and engineer. He is famous for writing mystery novels – particularly his debut work The Perfect Insider, which won him the first Mephisto Prize in 1996 – but he considers himself to be a researcher as well as craftsman.
Mori as a craftsman
Since childhood, Mori was an avid model craftsman, making all kinds of models from race cars to locomotives to airplanes. He started out with a model locomotive that his father bought him as a birthday gift and was soon attracted to the process of making a miniature world of his own. Tools and materials for model making were readily available since his father ran a construction shop, and when Mori was in fifth grade, he built a manpowered car by putting two bicycles together.
Unlike most boys, Mori never grew out of this hobby; instead, his love for model crafts grew stronger as he became older. His interest moved on to radio control airplanes and he has so far constructed and flown over forty of them, some of which span about ten feet. Furthermore, he recently constructed a five-inch (127 mm) gauge railway in his garden. Mori confesses that one of the reasons for becoming a novelist was that he wanted to make more money to extend the miniature garden railway.
Mori as a manga artist
Starting from high school years, Mori was also engrossed in manga. When he was hospitalized in the second year of high school, he came across a work by Moto Hagio, author of several well-known shōjo manga series, which struck him deeply and made him realize the artistic beauty of manga. Indeed, Mori says that Hagio is the only artist whom he adores and that she was the one who inspired him to write not only manga but other literary works as well.
After joining a manga club at the university, Mori began to write and self-publish under the pen name Mori Muku. He also produced drawings and illustrations, and it was in the sophomore year of university that he met Subaru Sasaki, an amateur artist with the same interests, who became both his wife and professional illustrator. Although Mori does not write manga anymore, he still claims to be a better manga artist than a novelist.
Mori as a researcher
Mori’s true career started in 1982 when he became an assistant professor at Mie University. He had found interest in conducting research while he had been studying as a graduate student at Nagoya University, and upon completing his master’s thesis, he took a job at the newly established Department of Architecture at Mie University. There, he specialized in rheology (a branch of physics that deals with deformation and flow of matter), and in particular, the studies of viscous-plastics.
In 1989, Mori became an associate professor at Nagoya University at the age of 31. He received a Doctorate of Engineering with a thesis on a numerical method for analyzing the flow of viscous plastic. Interestingly, Mori preferred not to become further promoted to professor, stating that he would lose his valuable research time to trivial meetings and other business. In March 2005, he resigned his post to become a professional writer.
Mori as a novelist
Finally, Mori made his debut as a novelist in April 1996 with The Perfect Insider. He won the very first Mephisto Prize for this, or rather, Editor Karaki says that the prize was established in the first place to make Mori's debut sensational. At this point, he had already written up three other novels, and the truth is that the first piece of work he had completed was Doctors in Isolated Room rather than The Perfect Insider, which was supposed to be the fourth piece in the series. The editor in chief, Hideo Uyama, decided to publish it first since it was the most shocking of the four.
Mori gives several reasons, in various interviews, as to why he started to write while working as associate professor. One of the reasons was that he had been saying jokingly that he would become a writer by forty, and another, already mentioned above, was that he wanted to have another source of income for his hobbies. However, the direct cause was that Mori simply wanted to impress his daughter who was a big fan of mystery novels.
As a writer, Mori is known among his editors to be prolific and punctual. In fact, he finished his first novel in just a week by sparing a mere three hours at night after a day’s work at the university. Although he writes very fast, he admits that he is not a good reader, and curiously, the bulk of his time is spent reading proof sheets rather than actually writing. At the same time, Mori is extremely punctual, and his editor Misa Inako affirms that he has never missed a deadline.
Mori has so far produced over thirty mystery novels; moreover, he has worked on a wide variety of genres in the past few years, including romance, poetry, essays, photo books, and children’s picture books. Particularly notable is An Automaton in Long Sleep, an adventure fiction about an automaton from 120 years ago, which was written in commission of Coca Cola for the base story of its 120th anniversary television drama in Japan, happen to became Mori’s first work to be dramatized on television. Manga versions for some of his works have been published as well.
Mori’s writings are called “rikei mystery,” which roughly translates into “science mystery.” This is most likely because Mori uses his experience as a research scientist and weaves some kind of a science- or math-related problem into the story (for example, several math puzzles were presented in Mathematical Goodbye). However, Mori says that he is reluctant to label his novels that way, and he goes on to question what is really meant when people say “science”.
In addition, Mori’s works, especially The Perfect Insider, is often criticized for the overuse of computer jargons. He responds that it is perfectly natural for people with some background knowledge to have a better understanding than others. According to Mori, computer jargons are not much different from proper nouns, like the names of celebrities or fashion brands, in the sense that they are in most cases just there as ornament that serves to create a particular mood.
- Short mystery stories
- The Girl Who Was the Little Bird (original title: Kotori no Ongaeshi), trans. Ryusui Seiryoin (The BBB: Breakthrough Bandwagon Books, 2013, ISBN 9781304749796)
- A Pair of Hearts (original title: Katahō no Piasu), trans. Ryusui Seiryoin (The BBB: Breakthrough Bandwagon Books, 2014, ISBN 9781312315662)
- I'm In Debt to Akiko (original title: Boku wa Akiko ni Kari ga Aru), trans. Ryusui Seiryoin (The BBB: Breakthrough Bandwagon Books, 2014, ISBN 9781312640641)
- The Sky Crawlers series
- S&M series
- The Perfect Insider (すべてがFになる Subete ga F ni naru?)
- Doctors in Isolated Room (冷たい密室と博士たち Tsumetai misshitsu to hakase tachi?)
- Mathematical Goodbye (笑わない数学者 Warawanai sugakusha?)
- Jack the Poetical Private (私的詩的ジャック Shiteki shiteki Jack?)
- Who Inside (封印再度 Fūin saido?)
- Illusion Acts Like Magic (幻惑の死と使途 Genwaku no shi to shito?)
- Replaceable Summer (夏のレプリカ Natsu no replica?)
- Switch Back (今はもうない Ima wa mō nai?)
- Numerical Models (数奇にして模型 Sūki ni shite mokei?)
- The Perfect Outsider (有限と微小のパン Yūgen to bishō no pan?)
- V series
- Delta in the Darkness (黒猫の三角 Kuroneko no sankaku?)
- Shape of Things Human (人形式モナリザ Ningyō shiki Monna Lisa?)
- The Sound Walks When the Moon Talks (月は幽咽のデバイス Tsuki wa yūetsu no device?)
- You May Die in My Show (夢・出会い・魔性 Yume deai mashō?)
- Cockpit on Knife Edge (魔剣天翔 Maken Tenshō?)
- A Sea of Deceits (恋恋蓮歩の演習 Ren ren renpo no enshū?)
- Six Supersonic Scientists (六人の超音波科学者 Rokunin no chōonpa kagakusha?)
- The Riddle in Torsional Nest (捩れ屋敷の利鈍 Nejire yashiki no ridon?)
- Rot off and Drop away (朽ちる散る落ちる Kuchiru chiru ochiru?)
- Red Green Black and White (赤緑黒白 Aka midori kuro shiro?)
- Four Seasons
- G series
- The Sky Crawlers series
- Short story collections
- M series
- Z series
- Other novels
- Until Death Do Us Part (そして二人だけになった Soshite futari dakeni natta?)
- God Save the Queen (女王の百年密室 Joou no hyakunen misshitsu?)
- Falling Ropewalkers (墜ちていく僕たち Ochite iku bokutachi?)
- Wife at Network (奥様はネットワーカ Okusama ha networker?)
- Labyrinth in Arm of Morpheus (迷宮百年の睡魔 Meikyū hyakunen no suima?)
- His name is Earl (探偵伯爵と僕 Tantei hakushaku to boku?)
- A phenomenon among students (どきどきフェノメノン Dokidoki phoenomenon?)
- An Automaton in Long Sleep (カクレカラクリ Kakure karakuri?)
- Eccentric persons are in stock (少し変わった子あります Sukoshi kawatta ko arimasu?)
- Zola with a blow and goodbye (ゾラ・一撃・さようなら Zola ichigeki sayounara?)
- incombustibles (もえない Moenai?)
- Trancendence of Ginga Estate Agency (銀河不動産の超越 Ginga fudousan no chouetsu?)
- 誤植. MORI LOG ACADEMY (in Japanese). 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- Mori, Hiroshi. Hiroshi Mori’s Mystery Workshop p. 242. Mediafactory, 1999.
- Mori p. 244.
- MORI Hiroshi’s Floating Factory Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
- Mori p. 181.
- 森博嗣 from the Japanese-language Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
- Mori p. 175.
- Mori p. 155.
- Mori p. 157.
- All about Mori Hiroshi p. 316 Takarajimasha, 2006.
- Mori p. 264.
- Mori p. 262.
- All about Mori Hiroshi p. 320. Takarajimasha, 2006.
- MORI Hiroshi’s Floating Factory Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
- Mori p. 273.
- Mori p. 114.
- "The Girl Who Was the Little Bird". The BBB: Breakthrough Bandwagon Books. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
- "A Pair of Hearts". The BBB: Breakthrough Bandwagon Books. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
- "I'm In Debt to Akiko". The BBB: Breakthrough Bandwagon Books. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
- Profile at The BBB: Breakthrough Bandwagon Books
- MORI Hiroshi's Floating Factory (森博嗣の浮遊工作室?) (Japanese)
- Entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction