December 28, 1949 |
Sugito, Saitama, Japan
Kitamura was born in the town of Sugito in Saitama Prefecture. He studied literature at Waseda University in Tokyo, and was a member of the Waseda Mystery Club while a student there. However, after graduating from Waseda in 1972, he returned to Saitama to become a language teacher at Kasukabe High School, his alma mater. He began his fiction writing career only after teaching for almost twenty years, and stopped teaching in 1993 to devote himself completely to writing once established as an author.
He made his writing debut using a pen name. Initially, because the unnamed first-person protagonist of his early works was a female college student, and the name Kaoru is gender ambiguous, it was widely speculated that Kitamura was female. This speculation persisted until he revealed his identity upon accepting the Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1991.
Kitamura is known as a writer of mysteries, and rather than the detective and crime stories of traditional mystery, his work mainly focuses on the logical resolution of more "ordinary" puzzles and questions encountered in everyday life. He is considered a pioneer of this style of mystery in Japan, called "everyday mystery" (日常の謎 nichijō no nazo?), which has since been taken up by many other writers.
He made his literary debut in 1989, with the publication of Soratobu Uma (空飛ぶ馬?, "Flying Horse"), and has been writing prolifically since then. He won the 44th Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1991 for Yoru no Semi (夜の蝉?, "Night Locusts"), the 6th Honkaku Mystery Grand Prize in 2006 for Nippon Kōka no Nazo (ニッポン硬貨の謎?, "Japanese Coin Mystery"), and the 2006 Baka-Misu Award for the same work. In 2009, after repeated previous nominations, he won the prestigious Naoki Prize (the 141st) for Sagi to Yuki (鷺と雪?, "Herons and Snow"). His works have been adapted for film, television, and manga.
|1989||Soratobu Uma (空飛ぶ馬?, "Flying Horse")||Enshi-san (円紫さん?) series|
|1990||Yoru no Semi (夜の蝉?, "Night Locusts")||Enshi-san series|
|1991||Aki no Hana (秋の花?, "Autumn Flowers")||Enshi-san series|
|1992||Roku no Miya no Himegimi (六の宮の姫君?, "Princess in Rokunomiya")||Enshi-san series|
|1995||Sukippu (スキップ?, "Skip")||"Time and Man" (時と人 Toki to Hito?) trilogy|
|1997||Tān (ターン?, "Turn")||"Time and Man" trilogy|
|1998||Asagiri (朝霧?, "Morning Fog")||Enshi-san series|
|2001||Risetto (リセット?, "Reset")||"Time and Man" trilogy|
|2003||Michi no Hi (街の灯?, "City Lights")||Becky-san (ベッキーさん Bekki-san?) series|
|2005||Hari no Ten (玻璃の天?, "Glass Heaven")||Becky-san series|
|2005||Nippon Kōka no Nazo (ニッポン硬貨の謎?, "Japanese Coin Mystery")|
|2009||Sagi to Yuki (鷺と雪?, "Herons and Snow")||Becky-san series|
- Emmerich, Michael (2008). Read Real Japanese Fiction. Tokyo: Kodansha International. ISBN 978-4-7700-3058-0. (Includes a brief English biography of Kitamura)
- "北村薫". Aga-search.com. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "北村薫とは – はてなキーワード". Hatena. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- J'Lit | Authors : Kaoru Kitamura | Books from Japan(English)
- 夜の蝉 (yoru no semi): Night Locust by Kaoru Kitamura
- Turn (JAPAN 2001) English language review of film adaption of Turn
- http://www.kitamura-tei.com Japanese language fan site
- 北村薫 Japanese language Wikipedia article