Yasushi Inoue

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Yasushi Inoue
Yasushi Inoue in 1955
Yasushi Inoue in 1955
BornYasushi Inoue
(1907-05-06)May 6, 1907
Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan
DiedJanuary 29, 1991(1991-01-29) (aged 83)
Tokyo, Japan
Alma materKyoto University
SpouseFumiko Adachi (m. 1935)
ChildrenShuichi Inoue (son)

Yasushi Inoue (井上靖, Inoue Yasushi, May 6, 1907 – January 29, 1991) was a Japanese writer of novels, short stories, poetry and essays, noted for his historical and autobiographical fiction. His most acclaimed works include The Bullfight (Tōgyū, 1949), The Roof Tile of Tempyō (Tenpyō no iraka, 1957) and Tun-huang (Tonkō, 1959).[1]


Inoue was born into a family of physicians in Asahikawa, Hokkaido in 1907, and later raised in Yugashima, Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture. During his high school years, he was an active practitioner of judo.[2] He first studied law and literature at Kyushu University and later changed to philosophy at Kyoto University, where he graduated in 1936 with a degree in aesthetics and a thesis on Paul Valéry.[3] After winning the Chiba Kameo Prize for his early work Ryūten, Inoue started working for the Mainichi Shimbun.[1][2][4] In 1937, he was drafted into the Sino-Japanese War, but soon returned due to illness and resumed his occupation at the Mainichi Shimbun.[2] His military service in northern China brought forth his interest in Chinese history.[1]

After the end of the Pacific War, Inoue won critical acclaim with his 1949 novellas The Hunting Gun (Ryōjū) and The Bullfight, the latter earning him the Akutagawa Prize. In the following years, he published several novels and short stories in a variety of genres: contemporary love stories,[3] stories addressing social and political aspects of post-war Japan like Kuroi Ushio,[3] historical novels set in accurately depicted settings[5] like the 1957 The Roof Tile of Tempyō and the 1959 Tun-huang (Tonkō), and works with an autobiographical background like the 1975 Chronicle of My Mother (Waga haha no ki),[1][2] which documented his mother's deterioration into senility.[6][7]

Inoue was elected a member of the Japan Art Academy in 1964 and received the Order of Culture in 1976. He died in Tokyo in 1991 at the age of 83.[2]

Selected Works[edit]

  • 1937: Ryūten (流転) story
  • 1949: The Hunting Gun (猟銃, Ryōjū) novella
  • 1949: The Bullfight (闘牛, Tōgyū) novella
  • 1950: Kuroi Ushio (黯い潮) novel
  • 1950: Shi to koi to nami (死と恋と波と) short story collection
  • 1951: Life of a Counterfeiter (ある偽作家の生涯, Aru gisakka no shōgai) short story collection
  • 1953: Asunaro monogatari (あすなろ物語) novel
  • 1956: Wall of Ice (氷壁, Hyōheki) novel
  • 1957: The Roof Tile of Tempyō (天平の甍, Tenpyō no iraka) novel
  • 1958: Kitaguni (北国) poetry collection
  • 1959: Lou-Lan (楼蘭, Ro-ran) short story collection
  • 1959: Tun-huang (敦煌, Tonkō) novel
  • 1960: Yodo dono no nikki (淀どの日記) novel
  • 1962: Chikūkai (地中海) poetry collection
  • 1963: Wind and Waves (風濤, Fūtō) novel
  • 1967: Kaseki (化石) novel
  • 1967: Unga (運河) poetry collection
  • 1968: Oroshiyakoku suimutan (おろしや国酔夢譚) novel
  • 1969: Journey Beyond Samarkand (西域物語, Seiiki monogatari) novel
  • 1971: Kisetsu (季節) poetry collection
  • 1975: Chronicle of My Mother (わがの母の記, Waga no haha no ki) novel
  • 1976: Enseiro (遠征路) poetry collection
  • 1979: Uta zenshū (全詩集) poetry collection
  • 1981: Hongakubō ibun (本覺坊遺文) novel
  • 1989: Confucius (孔子, Kōshi) novel


Adaptations (selected)[edit]


Inoue's works have also repeatedly been adapted for television and the stage.


  1. ^ a b c d "Inoue Yasushi". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e "井上靖 (Inoue Yasushi)". Kotobank (in Japanese). Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Inoue, Yasushi; Searls, Damion (Preface) (2010). Tun-huang. Translated by Moy, Jean Oda. New York Review Books. ISBN 978-1-590173626.
  4. ^ "井上靖文学館 企画展 (Yasushi Inoue Literary Museum – Special exhibitions)". 井上靖文学館 (Yasushi Inoue Literary Museum) (in Japanese). Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  5. ^ Inoue, Yasushi (1965). The Counterfeiter and Other Stories. Translated by Picon, Leon. Tuttle Publishing.
  6. ^ Milton, Edith (June 26, 1983). "As a Life Is Erased". The New York Times. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  7. ^ "A Novelist's Intimate Journalism". Japan Report. Vol. 24–33. New York: Japan Information Service, Consulate General of Japan. 1978. Retrieved January 16, 2022.

External links[edit]