Japanese Author -Yoko Ogawa


Yoko Ogawa was born on March 30th 1962 in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture. She lives in Ashiya, Hyogo with her husband and son.


Yoko Ogawa is a famous and influential Japanese writer of our times. She graduated from Waseda University. She began writing when she was quite young and began publishing books from the age of 26. She has written more than forty books both nonfiction and fiction. In 2006, she co- authored “An Introduction to the World’s Most Elegant Mathematics” with Masahiko Fujiwara, a mathematician. This was a book that was a dialogue on the unusual beauty of numbers. In 1988 Ogawa won the Kaien Literary Prize (Benesse) for the first book that she published, ‘The Breaking of the Butterfly’. She went on to win many more awards including Japan’s most popular literary award, Akutagawa Prize. Her novel ‘The Housekeeper and the Professor’ was made into the movie ‘The Professor’s Beloved Equation’. Many of her works have been translated into English by Stephen Snyder.


Yoko Ogawa is one who has written on diverse themes and genres, from eerie gothic horror to family drama to dystopian themes. And she is a master stroke player of all the genres. There is great detailing of the characters in her stories and the protagonist are mostly women. The Japanese society is well depicted in her novels. KenzaburōŌe, a senior Japanese writer and most popular person in contemporary Japanese literature, has said, “Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology in prose that is gentle yet penetrating”.

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Popular works by the author

The most popular works of Yoko Ogawa are ‘The Diving Pool’, ‘Revenge’, ‘Hotel Iris’ and ‘The Housekeeper and the Professor’. Many of her works appeared in ‘A Public Space’, ‘The New Yorker’ and ‘Zoetrope’. “The Memory Police’ was published in 1994 but it seems very relevant even today.