Naoki Higashida (東田 直樹 Higashida Naoki?, born August 12, 1992) is a Japanese poet, novelist, essayist. Higashida was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5. He was not able to make himself understood to people around him and his behavior was considered erratic.
Despite his disability, Higashida quickly took to learning Japanese characters. By attending a nearby cram school, he was able to better express himself. Soon he began writing Japanese characters with the help of adults who assisted by guiding his hand. He was able to express some of his emotions. Higashida’s mother noticed his power of expression and encouraged him to write poems and short stories. At the age of 11, and again when he was 12, Higashida won first prize in the Grimm Fairy Tales Contest, a story writing competition.
Since 2004, Higashida has published more than twenty books of fiction and non-fiction. The Reason I Jump was published as a book in 2007 featuring 58 often-asked questions about his autism and his frank, sometimes startling, answers to them. The book was a hit in Japan, but its discovery and subsequent translation by David Mitchell, who previously lived in Japan and has a Japanese wife, brought it mainstream to audiences all around the world. Mitchell’s English translation was published in 2013 and soon topped the best-seller list of Amazon’s U.S. and British sites.
- Jihei to iu boku no sekai, 自閉というぼくの世界,2004
- kono hoshi ni sunde iru boku no nakama tachi e, この地球にすんでいる僕の仲間たちへ,2005
- Yuuki wa oishii hazu, 勇気はおいしいはず,2005
- Minna no shiranai umi no oto, みんなの知らない海の音, 2005
- Kirankiran akai mi, きらんきらん赤い実, 2005
- Kikansha Kansuke, きかんしゃカンスケ, 2006
- Kansuke to akai happa, カンスケとあかいはっぱ, 2006
- Jiheisho no boku ga tobihaneru riyu, 自閉症の僕が跳びはねる理由, 2007 (The Reason I Jump) Translated by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell, 2013
- Kansuke to katatsumuri kun, カンスケとかたつむりくん, 2007
- Kansuke to Yukiko chan, カンスケとゆきこちゃん, 2007
- Jiheisho no boku ga nokosite kita kotoba tachi , 自閉症の僕が残してきた言葉たち, 2008
- Hentekorin, ヘンテコリン, 2008
- Kansuke no kurisumasu, カンスケのクリスマス, 2008
- Zoku jiheisho no boku ga tobihaneru riyu, 続・自閉症の僕が跳びはねる理由, 2010
- Kaze ni naru, 風になる, 2012
- Arugamama ni jiheisho desu, あるがままに自閉症です, 2013
- Tobihaneru shiko, 飛びはねる思考, 2014
- Arigato wa boku no mimi ni kodama suru, ありがとうは僕の耳にこだまする, 2014
- "Autistic author has a runaway bestseller on his hands". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
- "Author Mitchell hails Chiba writer Higashida for offering window on autism". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
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