Thursday, January 1, 2009

A little bit about me.

I was born on July 24th, 1964 as Yoshimoto Mahoko. My father is Takaai Yoshimoto, a famous figure in Japan that I am sure you all know about. He was the fighting force behind the youth radical movement in the sixties. Consequently, I grew up in a fairly liberal household. In high school, I even moved in with my boyfriend! My sister, Haruno Yoiko, is a famous cartoonist in Japan. Her artwork inspired me as a child to write. Slide 2

I went to Nihon University’s Art Division, majoring in literature. It was at this time that I chose my penname, Banana, because I love banana flowers. I think it is rather cute and androgynous. My graduation story, Moonlight Shadow won the Izumi Kyoka Prize from the faculty. After graduation was when I started to seriously think about writing. I would often write during my breaks when waitressing. It was then when I wrote Kitchen, arguably one of my most famous works. My writing is very influenced by Truman Capote and Stephen King - especially his non-horror works.

I like to keep my personal life very private. I married by husband in 2003, who is a certified Rolfer, and our son was born in 2003. In essays I write about my son, but not as much in stories. After having my son, I tend to think I want to live longer. Before, I was just in a hurry to live.

I have been fortunate enough to attain many literary achievements. For example, I have won the Best Newcomer Artists Recommended Prize, the Kaien Newcomer Writer's Prize, the Umitsubame First Novel Prize, and the Izumi Kyoka Literary Prize. In addition, Kitchen has been translated into more than seven different languages. Kitchen and Goodbye Tsugumi have both been made into movies. In total, I have sold over 60 million copies worldwide. Slide 5

A lot of my critics like to point out the fun, escapist side of my writing. Some even say that it is superficial and specially catered for popular consumption. Sometimes, I feel guilty since I write my stories for fun, not for therapy. But I am not deterred from my ultimate dream of receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature.


  1. Hello!

    When you say, you 'feel guilt about the stories you write not being therapy but fun'... don't! The stories I have read by you have helped me more than a 'therapy book' or even a therapy session could!

    I look forward to reading every piece of writing by you! I know I will feel more at ease with the world with each one.

    Kind regards,

  2. my 20's were curious time in my life..japan was part of tht were human relationships.i loved your style of bringing polar and contrasting facts about your rich culture,generation gap of modern and traditional,gender,spritual and materialistic..etc.into a very fine balance.still a fan and a profound lover of japan
    kajal banon

  3. Gracias por la libertad que me han ofrecido sus historias. Me ha hecho usted muy feliz. Un abrazo desde las remotas tierras argentinas de la regi├│n NEA, la provincia del Chaco, intercultural y pluriling├╝e. Un abrazo. Camila Rinaldi, profesora en Letras, Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad Nacional del Nordeste