Hiroko Oyamada is one of the fresh new talents of Japanese literature who made her entry through translations. Nevertheless she is seen to be as a force to reckon with and is all set to capture the literary stage of Japan.
Hiroko Oyamada was born on 2nd November 1983 in Hiroshima. She graduated in Japanese literature from Hiroshima University in 2006. Soon after her graduation she started working, but in five years she changed jobs three times. This inspired her to write her most famous novel ‘Kojo’ (The Factory) and this book was awarded 42nd Shincho Prize for New Writers in 2010. After this debut novel she found a work more suited to her interest, a part-time editor in a local magazine. She quit this job once she married a co-worker in this magazine. Kojo was translated into English by David Boyd and was published in 2019 making her famous globally. Her novella ‘Ana’ (Hole) won her the prestigious 150thAkutagawa Prize in 2014. She received the 30thOdaSakunosuke Prize for a collection of short stories. Oyamada continues to lives in Hiroshima with her husband and daughter.
Hiroko Oyomada‘s writing is not in perfect balance and she brings in the surrealistic style. She has stated that she has been influenced by Mario Vargas Llosa and Franz Kafka. The Franz Kafak style of writing, termed Kafkaesque, is seen in her work. Hiromi Kawakami who was one of the judges for the Akutagawa Prize praised Oyamada for her proficiency in writing "fantasy in a reality setting”.A review of the ‘The Factory’ gives a glimpse into Oyamada’s style of writing. There is a ‘tonal blandness’ in her writing was what Sam Sacks had to say about the book.
“She is fond of jump cuts and scenes that dissolve mid-paragraph and flow into the next without so much as a line break. A pleasant vertigo sets in. Objects have a way of suddenly appearing in the hands of characters. Faces become increasingly vivid and grotesque. Nothing feels fixed; everything in the book might be a hallucination.” —ParulSehgal, The New York Times
Popular works by the author
Some of her other popular works in English are ‘Spider Lilies’ and ‘The Hole’.In Japanese ‘Niwa’, (Garden) won her a lot of accolades.