Sayaka Murata

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Sayaka Murata
Native name
村田沙耶香
Born (1979-08-14) August 14, 1979 (age 39)
OccupationNovelist, convenience store clerk
LanguageJapanese
Alma materTamagawa University
GenreFiction
Notable works
  • Gin iro no uta (ギンイロノウタ)
  • Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (しろいろの街の、その骨の体温の)
  • Konbini ningen (コンビニ人間)
Notable awards

Sayaka Murata (村田沙耶香 Murata Sayaka) is a Japanese writer. She has won the Gunzo Prize for New Writers, the Mishima Yukio Prize, the Noma Literary New Face Prize, and the Akutagawa Prize.

Biography[edit]

Murata was born in Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, Japan in 1979. As a child she often read science fiction and mystery novels borrowed from her brother and mother, and her mother bought her a word processor after she attempted to write a novel by hand in the fourth grade of elementary school.[1] After Murata completed middle school in Inzai, her family moved to Tokyo, where she graduated from Kashiwa High School (attached to Nishogakusha University) and attended Tamagawa University.[2]

Kashiwa High School

Her first novel, Jyunyū (Breastfeeding), won the 2003 Gunzo Prize for New Writers.[3] In 2013 she won the Mishima Yukio Prize for Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (Of Bones, Of Body Heat, of Whitening City).[4] In 2016 her 10th novel, Konbini ningen (Convenience Store People), won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize,[5] and she was named one of Vogue Japan's Women of the Year.[6] Konbini ningen has sold over 600,000 copies in Japan, and in 2018 it became her first book to be translated into English, under the title Convenience Store Woman.[7]

Throughout her writing career Murata has worked part-time as a convenience store clerk in Tokyo.[8]

Writing style[edit]

Murata's writing explores the different consequences of nonconformity in society for men and women, particularly with regard to gender roles, parenthood, and sex.[9] Many of the themes and character backstories in her writing come from her daily observations as a part-time convenience store worker.[8] Societal acceptance of sexlessness in various forms, including asexuality, involuntary celibacy, and voluntary celibacy, especially within marriage, recurs as a theme in several of her works, such as the novels Shōmetsu sekai (Dwindling World) and Konbini ningen (Convenience Store Person), and the short story "A Clean Marriage."[10][11] Murata is also known for her frank depictions of adolescent sexuality in work such as Gin iro no uta (Silver Song)[12] and Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (Of Bones, of Body Heat, of Whitening City).[13]

Recognition[edit]

Year Prize Title Notes
2003 Gunzo Prize for New Writers[3] Jyunyū (授乳) Won
2009 Mishima Yukio Prize[4] Gin iro no uta (ギンイロノウタ) Nominated
2009 Noma Literary New Face Prize[14] Gin iro no uta (ギンイロノウタ) Won
2010 Mishima Yukio Prize[4] Mizu ga sū hoshi (星が吸う水) Nominated
2012 Mishima Yukio Prize[4] Tadaima tobira (タダイマトビラ) Nominated
2013 Mishima Yukio Prize[4] Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (しろいろの街の、その骨の体温の) Won
2014 Sense of Gender Awards[15] Satsujin shussan (殺人出産) Won
2016 Akutagawa Prize[5] Konbini ningen (コンビニ人間) Won

Bibliography[edit]

Books in Japanese[edit]

  • Jyunyū (Breastfeeding) Kodansha, 2005, ISBN 9784062127943
  • Gin iro no uta (Silver Song), Shinchosha, 2009, ISBN 9784103100713
  • Mausu (Mouse), Kodansha, 2008, ISBN 9784062145893
  • Hoshi ga sū mizu (Water for the Stars), Kodansha, 2010, ISBN 9784062160971
  • Hakobune (Ark), Shueisha, 2011, ISBN 9784087714289
  • Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (Of Bones, Of Body Heat, of Whitening City), Asahi Shimbun, 2012, ISBN 9784022510112
  • Tadaima tobira, Shinchosha, 2012, ISBN 9784103100720
  • Satsujin shussan, Kodansha, 2014, ISBN 9784062190466
  • Shōmetsu sekai (Dwindling World), Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2015, ISBN 9784309024325
  • Konbini ningen (Convenience Store Person), Bungeishunju, 2016, ISBN 9784163906188

Selected Work in Translation[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "村田沙耶香インタビュー「バイトは週3日、週末はダメ人間です」". Bungeishunjū (in Japanese). August 20, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  2. ^ "印西出身の村田沙耶香さん 入学時文集「いつか理想の自分に」 二松学舎大学付属柏高、母校も喜びに沸く /千葉". Mainichi (in Japanese). July 21, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Gunzo Awards". Gunzo (in Japanese). Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Mishima Yukio Prize (Official Website)".
  5. ^ a b Kikuchi, Daisuke (July 20, 2016). "Convenience store worker who moonlights as an author wins prestigious Akutagawa Prize". The Japan Times. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "高畑充希、飛躍の一年を回顧「台風の目にいるような感じ」". Oricon News. Nov 24, 2016. Retrieved Feb 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Freeman, John. "In Praise of Sayaka Murata". Literary Hub. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Lewis, Leo (June 8, 2018). "Sayaka Murata: 'My parents don't want to read my books'". Financial Times (subscription required). Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  9. ^ Rich, Motoko (June 11, 2018). "For Japanese Novelist Sayaka Murata, Odd Is the New Normal". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Fallon, Claire (June 12, 2018). "Amid All The Talk Of Incels, A Solitary Woman's Story". HuffPost. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  11. ^ Tapley Takamori, Ginny (April 24, 2014). "Translator's Note: A Clean Marriage". Granta. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  12. ^ "Silver Song". Books from Japan. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Of Bones, of Body Heat, of Whitening City". Books from Japan. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  14. ^ "過去の受賞作品". Kodansha (in Japanese). Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  15. ^ "2014年度 第14回Sense of Gender賞". The Japanese Association for Gender Fantasy and Science Fiction (in Japanese). August 29, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  16. ^ Murata, Sayaka (April 24, 2014). "A Clean Marriage". Granta. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  17. ^ "Convenience Store Woman". Grove Atlantic. Retrieved June 6, 2018.

External Links[edit]