Karl Taro Greenfeld

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Karl Taro Greenfeld

Karl Taro Greenfeld (born 1964 in Kobe, Japan) is a journalist and author known primarily for his articles on life in modern Asia and both his fiction and non-fiction in The Paris Review.


Born in Kobe, Japan, to an American father and a Japanese mother, the writers Josh Greenfeld and Fumiko Kometani, Greenfeld grew up in Los Angeles and went to college in New York City, graduating from Sarah Lawrence in 1987. He served as an Assistant Language Teacher on the JET Programme in Japan from 1988-89.[1] A regular contributor to publications such as GQ, The Atlantic and Vogue, Greenfeld was the managing editor of Tokyo Journal before becoming the editor of Time Asia from 2002–2004 and editor-at-large at Sports Illustrated from 2004-2007. He was the Tokyo correspondent for The Nation.[2] He is the author of three books about Asia: Speed Tribes: Days and Nights with Japan's Next Generation and Standard Deviations: Growing Up and Coming Down in the New Asia, and an account of the breakout of the SARS virus, China Syndrome: The True Story of the 21st Century's First Great Epidemic.

Greenfeld was greatly influenced by his parents, especially his father. In an interview, he said, "My dad was a huge influence in terms of what I think about writing, what has to be in a story, what has to be in a book. He's still a huge influence. When I wrote something well, he would make me feel really good. When I wrote something bad, he made me feel terrible. As a kid, it was most of my highs and lows—to the point that if the writing was really good, it almost excused weeks of bad behavior. He would forgive any transgression if I wrote a good story."[3] His younger brother Noah was the subject of the elder Greenfeld's "Noah" trilogy of books (A Child Called Noah, A Place for Noah, and A Client Called Noah); these books also indirectly chronicle Greenfeld's childhood. In May 2009, Greenfeld published his own memoir of his years with Noah, Boy Alone: A Brother's Memoir.

His novel Triburbia, about a group of families living in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, was published by Harper in July 2012. His novel The Subprimes about a woman who may or may not be the messiah, and the band of impoverished homeless Americans she comes to lead, was published by Harper in May 2015.

His articles and essays have been selected for the anthologies The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Travel Writing, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and The Best Creative Nonfiction. His fiction has appeared in Harper's, The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, The Paris Review, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, One Story, Commentary and The Sun. Greenfeld has lived in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo and currently lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife, Silka, and two daughters, Esmee and Lola.



  1. ^ http://www.academia.edu/2469288/Neo-Tokyo_Revisited_Deterritorialized_youth_globalization_fears_and_reader_response_to_Karl_Taro_Greenfelds_Speed_Tribes
  2. ^ "Dan Washburn and Karl Taro Greenfeld on 'The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream'". Asia Society. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ "From New Journalism in China to Autism: Interview with Karl Taro Greenfeld". Asia Pacific Arts. 2010-04-29.