Hiromi Goto

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Hiromi Goto
Born December 31, 1966
Chiba-ken, Japan[1]
Occupation Writer, Editor, and Teacher
Nationality Canadian

Hiromi Goto (born December 31, 1966 Chiba-ken, Japan) is a Japanese-Canadian editor, fiction writer, cultural critic, arts advocate, youth organizer, and teacher of creative writing.


Goto was born in Chiba’ken, Japan in 1966 and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1969.[1][2] They lived on the west coast of British Columbia for eight years before moving to Nanton, Alberta, a small town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where her father farmed mushrooms. Goto earned her B.A. in English from the University of Calgary in 1989, where she received creative writing instruction from Aritha Van Herk and Fred Wah.[3]

Goto's eighty-year-old grandmother told her Japanese stories when she was growing up.[3] Her work is also influenced by her father’s life stories in Japan. These stories often featured ghosts and folk creatures such as the kappa — a small creature with a frog’s body, a turtle’s shell and a bowl-shaped head that holds water. Her writing commonly explores the themes of race, gender and cultural experiences, like eating, while moving between the realms of fantasy and reality.[4][5]

Her first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms, was the 1995 recipient of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book Canada and Caribbean Region' and the co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. It has been released in Israel, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In 2001, she was awarded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award[6] and was short-listed for the regional Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Best Book Award, the Sunburst Award and the Spectrum Award.

Chorus of Mushrooms is about finding one’s identity in the midst of alienation and explicit differences. The novel depicted the characters’ different approaches to assimilating themselves within the host country’s culture as well as symbolic meanings of locations and settings crafted in a language that combines the two opposite poles of majority and minority i.e. English and Japanese. The novel also highlights the representational function of food in negotiating the characters' Nikkei diaspora cultural identities.[7] The novel narrated that there can never be an easy way to erase ethnic differences and become immersed into one culture, Or can denying the truth of one’s ethnic origins help in the process. The key is to be able to personally accept that being different is by no means a reason to be alienated and regarded as abnormal. It can be a powerful reason to become a distinct individual who cannot be lost within cultures.

Goto has been the Writer-in-Residence for numerous institutions, including Athabasca University (2012-2013),[8] the University of Alberta (2009-2010),[9] Simon Fraser University (2008),[10] Vancouver Public Library (2007)[11] and Vancouver's Emily Carr University of Art and Design.[3] She was the co-Guest of Honor of the 2014 WisCon science fiction convention in Madison, Wisconsin.[12] where she gave a well-received speech[13] on her experiences as a writer.



  1. ^ a b Grant, Gavin J. "Interview: Hiromi Goto". Indiebound.org. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  2. ^ "Hiromi Goto". Ryerson University Library. Ryerson University Library & Archives. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c JOSEPH-PIVATO. "Hiromi Goto". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016-02-12. 
  4. ^ Whishaw, Haley (16 June 2014). "Hiromi Goto". Ninetween Questions. University of British Columbia. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Latimer, Heather (2006). "Eating, Abjection, and Transformation in the work of Hiromi Goto". thirdspace: a journal of feminist theory & culture. 5 (2). Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "2001 Winners". James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  7. ^ De Souza, Lyle (2017). "Rooted-transnationalism and the representational function of food in Hiromi Goto's Chorus of Mushrooms". Contemporary Japan. 29 (2). 
  8. ^ "Welcome : Writer in Residence : Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences :". athabascau.ca. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "SFU News Online - Writer-in-residence - October 16, 2008". ualberta.ca. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "Past Writers-in-Residence". sfu.ca. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "Vancouver Public Library - Events & Programs". vpl.ca. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Announcing WisCon 38's Guests of Honor: Hiromi Goto and N.K. Jemisin" A Momentary Taste of WisCon 37 (Elizabeth Stone, ed.) Issue #4 (May 26, 2013), p. 2
  13. ^ "WisCon38 Guest of Honour Speech". Retrieved 5 March 2016. 

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