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Kazufumi Shiraishi’s rising international profile

Photograph of the Red Circle multi-award winning Japanese author Kazufumi Shiraishi. The only Japanese author to follow in his father’s footsteps by winning the same major Japanese literary prize as his father.
The award-winning author Kazufumi Shiraishi is very well known and highly regarded in Japan, his native country, where he has won major literary prizes, including the prestigious Naoki Prize, and had his work serialised in national newspapers and magazines, but his name is not yet a household or familiar name outside Japan.  

This, however, is starting to change following the successful publication of two of his novels in English translation in 2016 and 2017, helping increase his profile within international literary and publishing circles.  

The English translations of Me Against the World and The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside, both translated by Raj Mahtani, have been reviewed more than 12 times by international reviewers and critics in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan, as well as on social media sites such as Goodreads.  

Reviewers have compared Shiraishi’s works to Camus and Nietzsche. The Complete Review, for instance, described The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside as “exceptionally well done, a novel that seems to meander almost aimlessly along with its self-indulgent narrator yet is a tight and profound exploration of human hurt and intimate relationships. An impressive work”. One reader on Goodreads says that Me Against the World is “the best birthday gift I bought for myself”.  

Publishers across Asia are snapping up the rights to Shiraishi’s novels as his popularity grows in the region. The rights to 15 of his works have been bought for publication in Taiwan, 8 in China and 5 in South Korea.  

Cover of latest Kazufumi Shiraishi novel, Hikari no nai umi (The Lightless Sea) published by Shueisha in 2015, to have its foreign translation rights acquired.
The latest rights deal for one of his works was signed last month by Tianjin Huanwentianxia Books Co., Ltd in China for Hikari no nai umi (The Lightless Sea) originally published in Japanese in 2015 by Shueisha, one of Japan’s major publishing houses, founded in 1925, with an undisclosed but “healthy advance”. More deals are expected to close in the months ahead.  

The Lightless Sea
is a novel about a 50 year-old company president at a crossroads in his life, facing retirement, reflecting on his past and the tragically complicated family circumstances that led to him becoming President of the company he leads and the life changing choices he made to get there. An English language synopsis of the book can be accessed here.  

Links to English language reviews of the two English language translations, both published by Dalkey Archive Press, can be found below:

Me Against the World

Full Stop

Words without Borders

The Japan Times

The Complete Review

Japan Society of UK


Rain Taxi

Ohio State University

Midwest Book Review

The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside

The Complete Review

The Japan Times

  • RedCircle
    About Red Circle:
    Red Circle Authors Limited is a specialist publishing and communications company that conducts bespoke projects on behalf of a carefully selected and curated group of leading Japanese authors. Red Circle showcases Japan’s best creative writing. For more information on Red Circle, Japanese literature, and Red Circle authors please visit:
    • Kazufumi Shiraishi
      About Kazufumi Shiraishi:
      Kazufumi Shiraishi had a successful career, spanning two decades, as a journalists working for one of Japan's highest profile monthly magazines, Bungeishinju, before following in the steps of his father and twin brother becoming a full time author. He is a deeply thoughtful author who writes about love, life and the human condition and is unique in being the only Japanese author to follow in his father’s footsteps by winning the same major Japanese literary prize.