Whenever she appears in public she eschews make-up and dresses simply. She seems impervious to bad reviews. She keeps her personal life guarded, and reveals little about her certified Rolfer husband and son (born in 2003). Instead, she talks about her writing.
Each day she takes half an hour to write at her computer, and she says, "I tend to feel guilty because I write these stories almost for fun." She keeps an on-line journal for her English-speaking fans. Works Yoshimoto began her writing career while working as a waitress at a golf-club restaurant in 1987. She names American author Stephen King as one of her first major influences, and drew inspiration especially from his non-horror stories. As her writing progressed, she was further influenced by the more literary Truman Capote and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Her debut novel, Kitchen, was a phenomenal instant success, with over sixty printings in Japan alone. There have been two films made of the story, a Japanese TV movie and a more widely released version produced in Hong Kong by Yim Ho in 1997.
She won the 6th Kaien Newcomer Writers Prize in November 1987, the Umitsubame First Novel Prize, and then the 16th Izumi Kyoka Literary Prize in January 1988 for Kitchen. Another one of her novels, Goodbye Tsugumi, was also made into a movie in 1990, directed by Jun Ichikawa. The novel received mixed reviews. Critics think that much of her work is superficial and commercial; her fans however, think it perfectly captures what it means to be young and frustrated in modern Japan. Yoshimoto herself identifies her two main themes as "the exhaustion of young people in contemporary Japan" and "the way in which terrible experiences shape a person's life." Her novels can be fun and escapist, but are always touched with traditional Japanese ideology. Her writing can be quite piercing, haunting, poignant, and darkly humorous all at once.
Though critics believe her to be "lightweight," Yoshimoto unabashedly states that she aims to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. Her works include 12 novels and seven collections of essays (including Pineapple Pudding and Song From Banana) which have together sold over six million copies worldwide. Her themes include love and friendship, the power of home and family, and the effect of loss on the human spirit. In 1998, she wrote the foreword to the Italian edition of the book Ryuichi Sakamoto. Conversazioni by musicologist Massimo Milano. Awards Banana Yoshimoto was awarded the 39th edition Best Newcomer Artists Recommended Prize by the Minister of Education in August 1988 for Kitchen and Utakata/Sankuchuari. In March 1989, Goodbye Tsugumi was awarded the 2nd Yamamoto Shugoro Literary Prize.
In 1994 her first long novel, Amrita, was awarded the Murasaki-shikibu Prize. Bibliography Title, Publish date Japanese, English translation Kitchen: 1988, 1993 Asleep: 1989, 2000 Goodbye Tsugumi: 1989, 2002 NP: 1990, 1994 Lizard: 1993, 1995 Amrita: 1994, 1997 Sly Moonlight Shadow Rocking On Argentina Hag Hardboiled & Hard Luck: 1999, 2005 External links * Official Banana Yoshimoto Site * Article from Metropolis * Bananamania (cited from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Yoshimoto) Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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