Young Women Writers


I’m researching the female writer Aoyama Nanae and her Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Hitori biyori (2007). Winning the award at age 24, Aoyama is the latest example of the boom in young women writers, along with prize winners Kanehara Hitomi and Shimamoto Rio, who were also born in 1983. The young female protagonist of Hitori biyori learns about life and grows up as she moves to Tokyo, works at at train station kiosk, and lives with Ginko, a 71 year old family acquaintance. This novel evocatively describes the freeter lifestyle and the despair felt by contemporary youth.

In 2009, Aoyama became the youngest winner of the Kawabata Yasunari Prize for her short story “Kakera.” I’m very interested in this phenomenon and the ways in which these young women are changing the face of the literary establishment.

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  • 1983 Born in Saitama
  • 2005 Awarded 42nd Bungei Prize for “Mado no akari”
  • 2007 Awarded 136th Akutagawa Prize for Hitori Biyori
  • 2009年 Youngest winner of the Kawabata Yasunari Prize for the short story “Kakera”


“Just 20, She Captures Altered Japan in a Debut Novel” (NY Times, 3/27/04)

  • Post Akutagawa Prize interview with Kanehara Hitomi
  • 金原ひとみの芥川賞受賞者インタビュー

contributed by Rachel DiNitto