Kanehara Hitomi


Kanehara Hitomi is the author of books about post-bubble generation youth. She writes about topics that are often considered shocking or sensational, including violence, body modification, sexual deviance, abortion, and dysfunctional relationships. Yet because Japanese society as a whole has experienced many shocks since World War II, and especially in the post-bubble era, the violent content of Kanehara’s books does not shock the Japanese people in general. However, as Kanehara herself is one of the post-bubble generation Japanese, she has a unique perspective on the lifestyles, needs, and dreams of youth who came of age in the recession. I believe that understanding this post-bubble generation is crucial to understanding Japan’s future.

Since I am from the same generation as Kanehara, I want to study the lifestyles of Japanese youth. In the summer of 2009, I researched some of the topics Kanehara addresses in her books Hebi ni piasu and Ootofikushon. This semester, I will research the post-bubble generation’s relationship with Japanese society with Kanehara’s works.



  • 1983: Born in Tokyo
  • 1990: The Japanese economic bubble collapsed
  • 1995: The Aum Shinrikyo subway sarin gas incident
  • 1996: Murakami Ryuu says a new method of shocking is necessary
  • 2003: Snakes and Earrings won the 27th Subaru Literary Award. The same novel won the 130th Akutagawa Prize.
  • 2005: Snakes and Earrings is published in English
  • 2006: Autofiction, her fourth novel, is published in Japanese
  • 2007: Autofiction is published in English
  • Linkography

    “People of Today: Kanehara Hitomi” Interview Excerpt

      “In the end, I lost my nerve and couldn’t do [a split tongue], but I guess I wrote this book to express myself, and because I wanted to analyze the mentality of people who are interested in body modification.”
      In the novel she has Lui speak in this way. “If there isn’t a place in this world where the sun doesn’t shine, there will be a way for me to become a shadow.”
      “The impetus was just a trivial thing; I already don’t want to be in such a world, and there are times when I think I want to become a shadow that bright things can’t reach. Nevertheless, turning to a dark, inconspicuous existence is too sorrowful, and I don’t want to end as that sort of person. With that point, if I’m armed with body modification, I can get used to the shadow that frees my presence. I can become a shutout who says ‘don’t approach me’ to the society that judges by appearance. Also, among the people who are attracted by body modification, I feel that they have a similar feeling, that they want to verify that ‘I can be only this,’ by modifying their bodies.”

    “People of Today: Kanehara Hitomi” (Subaru Prize for Literature, 2003)

      Subaru interview with Kanehara Hitomi about “Snakes and Earrings”

    “Kanehara Hitomi Special Interview” (Shueisha, 2004)

      Shueisha interview with Kanehara Hitomi about “Ash Baby”

    Customer Reviews (Amazon.jp)

      Reader reviews of “Snakes and Earrings”

    Entry contributed by Pam Kennedy