Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Kikuko Tsumura (16 August 1978) is a renowned Japanese writer hailing from Osaka. Her literary achievements include receiving several esteemed Japanese literary awards, such as the Akutagawa Prize, Noma Literary New Face Prize, Dazai Osamu Prize, Kawabata Yasunari Prize, and Oda Sakunosuke Prize.

Early Life

Tsumura was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1978. During her school commutes, she immersed herself in science fiction novels, particularly the works of William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, and Kurt Vonnegut. Inspired by these influences, she embarked on her own writing journey and penned her debut novel, “Man’ītā” (Maneater), while still a third-year university student. This work won her the 21st Dazai Osamu Prize and was later published under the title “Kimi wa eien ni soitsura yori wakai.”


Following her college graduation, Tsumura encountered workplace harassment during her first job and subsequently left after ten months. This experience fueled her determination to retrain and find another job, inspiring her to craft stories centered around the struggles of young workers. In 2008, her book “Myūjikku buresu yū!!” (Music Bless You!!) earned her the Noma Literary New Face Prize. The following year, her novel “Potosu raimu no fune” (The Lime Pothos Boat), depicting the challenges of precarious work faced by a young woman, won the prestigious 140th Akutagawa Prize.


Throughout her career, Tsumura continued to produce acclaimed works, earning her multiple awards that highlighted her exceptional storytelling and social insights. Her literary accomplishments include:

  • 2005: 21st Dazai Osamu Prize for “Man’ītā” (Maneater)
  • 2008: 30th Noma Literary New Face Prize for “Myūjikku buresu yū!!” (Music Bless You!!)
  • 2008: 26th Sakuya Konohana Prize
  • 2009: 140th Akutagawa Prize for “Potosu raimu no fune” (The Lime Pothos Boat)
  • 2011: 28th Oda Sakunosuke Prize for “Wākāzu daijesuto” (Workers’ Digest)
  • 2013: 39th Kawabata Yasunari Prize for “Kyūsuitō to Kame” (The Water Tower and The Turtle)
  • 2016: MEXT Award for New Artists for “Kono yo ni tayasui shigoto wa nai” (There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job)
  • 2017: 27th Murasaki Shikibu Literature Prize for “Fuyūrei Burajiru” (A Wandering Ghost in Brazil)

Kikuko Tsumura’s literary achievements and profound insights into societal issues have solidified her reputation as a prominent figure in contemporary Japanese literature.

On 16 August 2022, a Google Doodle was created to celebrate Kimiko Tsumura’s 120th Birthday.

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