Nahoko Uehashi

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Nahoko Uehashi
Native name
上橋 菜穂子
Born (1962-07-15) July 15, 1962 (age 57)
Tokyo, Japan
OccupationWriter, ethnologist
GenreFantasy, children's literature
Notable worksMoribito series
Notable awardsNoma Children's Literature New Face Prize (1996),
Noma Children's Literature award (2004),
Sankei Children's Culture and Publishing award,
Mildred L. Batchelder Award (2009),
Hans Christian Andersen Award (2014)

Nahoko Uehashi (上橋 菜穂子, Uehashi Nahoko) (born July 15, 1962 in Tokyo, Japan) is a Japanese writer, primarily of fantasy books, for which she has won many awards.

Uehashi is also Professor of Ethnology at Kawamura Gakuen Women's University, having completed a PhD focusing on the Yamatji, an indigenous Australian people.[1]


Uehashi's career as a writer started in 1989. Her first book was The Sacred Tree (精霊の木, seirei no ki). She then wrote the novel O God, Sleep Ye in The Forest of Moon (月の森にカミよ眠れ, tsuki no mori ni kami yo nemure). This novel received an award from the Japanese Association of Writers for Children,[2] which made her one of the famous Japanese-fantasy authors.

In 1996, she published the first book of her Moribito series, Guardian of the Spirit (精霊の守り人, Seirei no Moribito). The novel received the Noma Children's Literature New Face Prize[3] and the Sankei Children's Culture and Publishing award[4] and the English translation was awarded the Mildred L. Batchelder Award in 2009.[5] In 1999, Uehashi published the second book of the Moribito series, Guardian of the Darkness (闇の守り人, Yami no Moribito). With this novel she received the Japanese Association of Writers for Children's award.[2] In 2002 The Guardian series won the Iwaya Sazanami literature award,[6] and in 2003, Guardian of the God (神の守り人, Kami no Moribito) won another Japanese award from the Shogakukan publishing company.[7] Then, in 2003, Uehashi wrote the novel Beyond the Fox Whistle (狐笛のかなた, Koteki no Kanata), which received a Noma Children's Literature award.[8] In 2006 she wrote the two volume The Beast Player (獣の奏者, Kemono no Sōja), which she complemented with two more volumes in 2009.

Both Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and the first two volumes of The Beast Player have had anime adaptations, in 2007[9] and 2009,[10] respectively. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit has also been made into a radio drama[11] and The Beast Player into a manga.[12]

For her "lasting contribution" as a children's writer, Uehashi won the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2014.[13] Announced late in March, it will be presented on 10 September at the annual conference of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in Mexico City.[13] According to the IBBY jury chaired by María Jesús Gil of Spain, "Uehashi tells stories that are replete with imagination, culture and the beauty of a sophisticated process and form. Her literary subjects are based on ancient Japanese mythology and science-fiction fantasy that are deeply rooted in human reality."[13]

Works in English translation[edit]


The Guardian series[edit]

  • Novels[15][16]
    1. Guardian of the Spirit (精霊の守り人, Seirei no Moribito), 1996
      • Kaiseisha, July 1996, ISBN 978-4-03-540150-6
      • Shincho Bunko, March 2007, ISBN 978-4-10-130272-0
    2. Guardian of the Darkness (闇の守り人, Yami no Moribito), 1999
    3. Guardian of Dreams (夢の守り人, Yume no Moribito), 2000
    4. Traveler of Void (虚空の旅人, Koku no Tabibito), 2001
    5. Guardian of the God: The Book of Coming (神の守り人 来訪編, Kami no Moribito: Raihō hen), 2003
    6. Guardian of the God: The Book of Returning (神の守り人 帰還編, Kami no Moribito: Kikan hen), 2003
    7. Traveler of the Indigo-Blue Road (蒼路の旅人, Sōro no Tabibito), 2005
    8. Guardian of Heaven and Earth: The Kingdom of Lota (天と地の守り人 ロタ王国編, Ten to Chi no Moribito: Rota ōkoku hen), 2006
    9. Guardian of Heaven and Earth: The Kingdom of Kanbal (天と地の守り人 カンバル王国編, Ten to Chi no Moribito: Kanbaru ōkoku hen), 2007
    10. Guardian of Heaven and Earth: The New Yogo Empire (天と地の守り人 新ヨゴ皇国編, Ten to Chi no Moribito: Shin Yogo ōkoku hen), 2007
  • Short story collections[15][16]

The Beast Player series[edit]

Standalone fantasy novels[edit]

In the far future, when the earth was completely polluted and people could no longer live on it, human beings spread out onto other planets. For the Planet Nira, where Shin Yamano lives, it's the 200th anniversary since humans first settled on it. But something is wrong. Shin's cousin Licia suddenly awakens to the ESP-like ability of the Roshnars, an aboriginal tribe of Nira that was said to have been extinct ages ago....
Torn between the love of the god of the Moon Forest and the need of her tribe to kill the very same god, the young oracle girl Kishime is distressed. Her tribe talks of killing the god and felling the sacred forest for rich harvest. But should she listen to the urgent needs of her tribe, or should she fulfill her duty as the oracle of the god of the forest?
The young girl, Sayo has inherited the ability of "hearing" people's minds from her mother. In her childhood, she had once saved a fox cub from some hunter's hounds. But that fox was a werefox that lives between the world of the gods and this world, owned by human, sent to kill a lord. Despite her will, Sayo is dragged into the ugly fight between two countries...


Uehashi's only book as an ethnologist. About Aborigines who live in town with the white-skinned Australians. When you first look at them, these people seem to have no difference from the white Australians, but something is different....


  1. ^ 作家の読書道 第95回:上橋菜穂子さん (in Japanese). WEB本の雑誌. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  2. ^ a b 過去の受賞作品 日本児童文学者協会ホームページ (in Japanese). 日本児童文学者協会 (Japanese Association of Writers for Children). Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  3. ^ 野間児童文芸新人賞 (過去の受賞者一覧) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  4. ^ 産経児童出版文化賞 過去の授賞作品 (in Japanese). Sankei Shimbun. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  5. ^ "Batchelder Award winners, 1968-Present | Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)". Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  6. ^ 巖谷小波文芸賞 過去の受賞者 (in Japanese). Japanese Culture Foundation for Youths. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  7. ^ 小学館児童出版文化賞 (in Japanese). The Foundation for the Advancement of Juvenile Education in Japan. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  8. ^ "野間児童文芸賞 : 講談社". Archived from the original on August 9, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  9. ^ 精霊の守り人 (in Japanese). Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  10. ^ "I.G to Animate Moribito Author's The Beast Player Novels - News - Anime News Network". Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  11. ^ "NHKオーディオドラマ 青春アドベンチャー 放送済みの作品(2006年)" (in Japanese). NHK. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  12. ^ "『獣の奏者』上橋菜穂子:講談社BOOK倶楽部". Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c "2014 Awards". Hans Christian Andersen Awards. International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). With contemporary material including the 17 March 2014 shortlist press release and 24 March 2014 final press release. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  14. ^ Nahoko Uehashi at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2014-03-27. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  15. ^ a b c d 偕成社 著者紹介 上橋菜穂子 (in Japanese). 偕成社 (Kaiseisha). Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  16. ^ a b c 新潮社 著者一覧 上橋菜穂子 (in Japanese). Shinchosha. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  17. ^ a b "『獣の奏者』上橋菜穂子:講談社BOOK倶楽部" (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  18. ^ 理論社 狐笛のかなた (in Japanese). 理論社 (Rironsha). Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  19. ^ 筑摩書房 上橋菜穂子 (in Japanese). 筑摩書房 (Chikuma Shobo). Retrieved March 27, 2014.

External links[edit]