Agawa was born in Hiroshima, Japan. As a high school student Agawa was influenced by the Japanese author Naoya Shiga. He entered the Tokyo Imperial University to study Japanese literature. Upon graduation in 1942, Agawa was conscripted to serve in the Imperial Japanese Navy, where he worked as an intelligence officer breaking Chinese military codes until the end of the war. He returned to Hiroshima, where his parents had experienced the atomic bomb, in March 1946.
After World War II Agawa wrote his first short story Nennen Saisai (Years upon Years, 1946), which was a classic I Novel, or autobiographical novel, recounting the reunion with his parents. It follows the style of Naoya Shiga, who is said to have praised the work. August 6 as Agawa notes in a postscript, combines the stories of friends and acquaintances who experienced the bombing into the testimony of one family. Occupation censorship at the time was strict, but the story passed because, the author later observed, "it made no reference to the problems of after-effect and continued no overt criticism of the U.S." Agawa came to popular and critical attention with his Citadel in Spring (春の城, 1952), which was awarded the Yomiuri Prize. (He later revisited the same theme of his experiences as a student soldier in Kurai hato (Dark waves, 1974)). Ma no isan (Devil's Heritage, 1953), a documentary novel, is an account of the bombing of Hirosima through the eyes of a young Tokyo reporter, handling, among other topics, the death of his Hiroshima nephew and survivors' reactions to the Atomic bomb Casualty Commission, the U.S. agency that conducted research on atomic victims.
Agawa's four major biographical novels are Yamamoto Isoroku (山本五十六, 1965), Yonai Mitsumasa (米内光政, 1978), Inoue Seibi (井上成美, 1986), and Shiga Naoya (志賀直哉, 1994). His other major works include Kumo no bohyo (Grave markers in the clouds, 1955), and Gunkan Nagato no shogai (The life of the warship Nagato, 1975).
Agawa was awarded the Order of Culture (Bunka Kunsho) in 1999.
|Year||Japanese Title||English Title||Genre/Comments|
|From Age to Age
in ISBN 978-0-23113-804-8
|I Novel; Agawa's first literary work; translation by Eric P. Cunningham|
Haru no shiro
|Citadel in Spring
|Autobiographical novel; describes the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; translation by Lawrence Rogers, 1990.|
Ma no isan
|Devil's heritage||Documentary novel; following the aftermath of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, translation by John M. Maki, 1957.|
Kumo no bohyō
|Burial in the Clouds
|Documentary war novel; based on the diary of Iwao Yoshii, a former Kamikaze pilot. Trans. by Teruyo Shimizu, 2006.
Movie adaptation by Shochiku in 1957.
Yoru no namioto
Saka no ooi machi
Aoba no kageri
Mizu no ue no kaiwa
|The Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy
|Biography; translation by John Bester, with some abridgment approved by Agawa, 1979|
|War novel (partly autobiographical)|
Gunkan Nagato no shōgai
Thames no mizu
Naki haha ya
- 1952 Yomiuri Prize - Citadel in Spring, (Haru no shiro,「春の城」)
- 1966 Shincho Literary Prize - The Reluctant Admiral (Yamamoto Isoroku,「山本五十六」)
- 1987 Nippon Grand Literary Prize - Inoue Seibi (「井上成美」)
- 1994 Noma Literary Prize - Shiga Naoya (「志賀直哉」)
- 2002 Yomiuri Prize - Shokumi-Buburoku (「食味風々録」)
- 2007 Kikuchi Kan Prize
- J'Lit | Authors : Hiroyuki Agawa | Books from Japan
- Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002
- Burial in the Clouds, Tuttle Pub. info
- Atomic Bomb Literature: A Bibliography
- JSTOR, Citadel in Spring review