Factbook

A Dynamic Compendium of Interesting Japanese Literary and Publishing Facts
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    Banana Yoshimoto chose the pen name banana as it was gender neutral[UPDATED: 2-22-2018]

    Banana Yoshimoto, one of the most internationally recognised contemporary female Japanese writers established her career in 1988 with her debut novel Kitchen, which was nominated for various prizes, instantly putting her on Japan’s literary map. She wrote the novel while working as a waitress in a golf club. 

    She chose her pen name while at college before graduation choosing banana to replace her given name Mahoko as she liked banana flowers and thought the name was memorable, “cute”, and  “purposefully androgynous.” 

    She comes from a very creative family. Her father Taaki Yoshimoto (1924-2012) was a well-known poet and literary critic and her sister is a well-known cartoonist.
    Banana Yoshimoto chose the pen name banana as it was gender neutral Posted by Richard Nathan
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    • pen names

    Yukio Mishima chose his pen name when he was just 16[UPDATED: 2-14-2018]

    Yukio Mishima (1925-1970), one of Japan’s most famous writers, chose his pen name when he was just 16.

    The discovery of a draft of his book Hana Zakari no Mori, The forest in full bloom, has his name, Kimitake Hiraoka, crossed out and the name Yukio Mishima written alongside it. This early draft was written when he was 16.

    The draft was found in Kumamoto in 2016. The forest in full bloom was published in 1941 in the literary journal Bungei Bunka.

    Mishima, who was reportedly considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964 and on at least two other occasions, committed suicide in 1970.
    Yukio Mishima chose his pen name when he was just 16 Posted by Richard Nathan