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Hear the True Story of Masako Katsura, Japan’s Most Famous Author

Masako Katsura is a Japanese author most famous for her historical novel, The Tale of Genji. But you may not know that she also writes children’s stories. In this blog post, we will explore one of Katsura’s children’s stories, Hear the True Story of Masako Katsura. Written in a simple and engaging style, this story follows the adventures of a young girl as she journeys to meet her favourite author. As you read, learn about the author herself and discover how her story sheds light on the realities of the Japanese publishing industry.

How Masako Katsura Became Japan’s Most Famous Author

Masako Katsura is a Nobel Prize-winning a Japanese author who wrote children’s books such as “The Tale of the Genji Princess” and “Michiko and Hatchin”. She also wrote adult novels, including “I Will Follow You into the Dark” and “Memoirs of a Geisha”. In 2004, she was awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for her work.

Born to a well-to-do family in Kyoto in 1933, Masako grew up surrounded by literature. Her father was an avid reader who introduced her to classic Japanese literature at an early age. Influenced by her father’s passion for reading, Masako began writing at twelve. Her first book, “The Tale of the Genji Princess”, tells the story of a young girl who must choose between love and duty, published when she was eighteen.

Masako has written more than thirty books spanning children’s and adult fiction throughout her career. She has also released numerous audio recordings and documentaries about her life and work as an author. In addition to her literary achievements, Masako is well known for her work as a translator – she has translated many classic Japanese works into English.

Masako Katsura’s Early Life

Masako Katsura was born on October 10, 1928, in the town of Kameoka in Japan’s Wakayama prefecture. Masako’s family was poor, and she had to work from an early age. She entered Waseda University in Tokyo at 18 and studied law. However, after two years, she changed her major to literature and began writing short stories. In 1956, she published her first story collection titled “Sukiyaki”.

Masako’s second novel, “A Tale of Two Cities” (1959), was highly praised by critic Kenzaburo Oe and won the prestigious Naoki Prize. Her subsequent novels were also successful, including “The Burmese Harp” (1963), “Shinju monogatari” (1967), and “Kimi no naka de” (1973).

In 1976, Masako became a naturalized U.S. citizen. She continued to write during this time, but her later work received less critical acclaim than her earlier works. In 1988, she retired from writing but continued to live in the United States until her death on January 5, 2013.

Masako Katsura was born in 1936 in Nagasaki, Japan

Masako Katsura was born in 1936 in Nagasaki, Japan. At six, she and her family were forced to flee their home city after the United States bombed it during World War II. Katsura and her family eventually settled in Tokyo, where she began writing novels early.

Katsura’s first book, “The House of the Pink Pineapple” (1979), tells the story of a young girl who is evacuated from her destroyed home city and sent to live with relatives in the country. The novel won numerous awards and established Katsura as one of Japan’s most successful authors.

Katsura’s other books include:

  • “The Silent Girl” (1981) tells the story of a deaf girl who is forbidden to go to school.
  • “The Reason I Jump” (1989) is about a young boy coping with the death of his parents.
  • “A thousand Cranes” (1999) examines the aftermath of World War II.

Masako Katsura is recognized both inside and outside of Japan as one of Japan’s most famous authors. She has been awarded numerous honours, including the prestigious Kyoto Prize for Literature in 2000. In 2006, she was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Literacy.

Masako Katsura wrote her first novel,

Masako Katsura is an internationally acclaimed Japanese author. She has written 20 novels translated into more than 30 languages. Her books are known for their lush storytelling and complex characters.

Born in Hiroshima in 1951, Masako grew up during the atomic bombing of Japan and the postwar period. She began writing at a young age, and her first novel, The Tale of Genji, was published when she was just 23 years old.

Since then, Masako has continued to write highly successful novels exploring human relationships’ complexities. Her work has been praised as being both beautifully written and culturally significant.

Masako currently resides in Kyoto with her husband and children. She continues to write and publish new novels, making her one of Japan’s most iconic authors.


Reading Masako Katsura’s books is an experience like no other. Her writing is rich, nuanced and densely packed with details about Japan’s history and culture. Whether it’s her novel The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, which tells the story of a young girl who must fight to continue her family’s tradition of karate after they are forced into hiding during World War II, or her latest book, A Tale for the Time Being, which tells the story of two siblings who spend their childhood living in a time capsule from 1962 until 1972, Katsura never fails to capture your attention with her unique storytelling style.           

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