Masahiko Shimada

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Masahiko Shimada

Masahiko Shimada (島田 雅彦 Shimada Masahiko?, born 13 March 1961) is a Japanese writer. He began his career as a novelist by describing himself as sayoku (left-wing). In his works, he often refers to the Emperor and to the Japanese Imperial Family. Recently, he began to write poems.


Shimada won the Noma Bungei Award for First Novels in 1984 for his Muyu Okoku No Tame No Ongaku (Music for the Kingdom of Somnambulism). He has taught at Columbia University.

Yumetsukai or The Dream Messenger is one of his more popular novels. It was written in 1989 and translated to English by Philip Gabriel in 1994. The back reads: "Mrs. Amino is a kindly rich woman who holds a fallen novelist captive. Maiko Rokujo is a beautiful securities broker hired to play a private detective. And Matthew is a transcontinental 'rental child,' a professional friend whose dreams come into the lives of all those he touches.

In a novel that breaks down barriers in contemporary fiction and races across boundaries of culture and even reality, Masahiko Shimada weaves an erotic, riotous, and consistently entertaining tale of life in the two most fantastic cities in the world. Dream Messenger, at once hip and wise, follows a varied cast of characters—sirens and sinners, outcasts and insiders—bound together by a mother's search for her missing son. Introducing an internationally acclaimed young Japanese writer, Dream Messenger is for those seeking a fresh new voice and exhilarating adventure in the postmodern age."

The English translation has been reviewed by the International Herald Tribune, the New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Booklist, Library Journal, and Locus.

Dream Messenger deals extensively with themes of love, loss, consciousness/personality, and the state of the modern Japanese culture and how it relates to America and the world as a whole. There are self-referential aspects, as well as the inclusion of himself as a minor character.

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