Yūko Tsushima

Yūko Tsushima (pen name of Satoko Tsushima, 30 March 1947 – 18 February 2016) was a Japanese writer.

Her father, the writer Osamu Dazai, committed suicide together with his lover, when Tsushima was one year old, and she was raised by her mother. Tsushima began her literary career by contributing to the private literary magazine Bungei shuto, and published her first stories while she was a student at the Shirayuri Women’s University.

While her stories show strong influences from the Japanese literary tradition, especially of Kanoko Okamoto, Fumiko Hayashi, Hirabayashi Taiko, Taeko Kono, and Minako Oba, she has also been influenced by Western writers, such as Edgar Allan Poe, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner.

“(…) My constant theme is love and solitude. We all want love, but love is entwined with solitude. I want to delve into these issues. I only write things familiar to me. I’m a divorced mother. I was born in Tokyo and have lived here all my life. I don`t know a woman`s situation in the rural area, although I hear there is still a big difference in lifestyles and ways of thinking from Tokyo. I have been writing about the divorces, lost loves and pregnancies before and after the marriages of today`s women living in a city. I have never written about happy women. This is not because I like unhappiness, but it comes from my firm belief that misfortune is not always bad. Happiness can spoil people. Happy people can lose sensitivity, and as a result they become poor in terms of human qualities.On the contrary, people can become rich by unhappiness. Unhappy people are given a chance to discover true human nature.(…)” – Interview to the Chicago Tribune in 1989.


  • 1977 Izumi Kyoka Prize for Kusa no fushido (Bedchamber of Grass)
  • 1978 Women’s Literature Prize for Choji (Child of Fortune)
  • 1979 Noma Prize for New Writers for Hikari no ryobun (The Family)
  • 1987 Yomiuri Prize for Literature for Yoru no hikari ni owarete (Driven by the Light of the Night)
  • 1998 Noma Prize for Literature for Hi no yama―Yamazaruki (Mountain of Fire: Account of a Wild Monkey)
  • 1998 Tanizaki Prize for Hi no yama―Yamazaruki (Mountain of Fire: Account of a Wild Monkey)
  • 2002 Osaragi Jiro Prize for Warai ookami (Laughing Wolf).


In English

  • Child of Fortune, tr. Geraldine Harcourt (1992. Original: 寵児, Chōji, 1978)
  • Territory of Lighttr. Geraldine Harcourt (2018. Original: 光の領分, Hikari no ryōbun, 1979)
  • Woman Running in the Mountains, tr. Geraldine Harcourt (1991. Original: 山を走る女, Yama wo hashiru onna, 1980)
  • The Shooting Gallery & Other Stories, tr. Geraldine Harcourt (1988. Original: 射的ほか短編集, 1973–1984)
  • Laughing Wolf, tr. Dennis Washburn (2001. Original: 笑い狼, Warai Okami, 2000)
  • Of Dogs and Walls, tr. Geraldine Harcourt(2018. Original: 犬と塀について, inu to hei nituite , 2014; すいふ, suifu, 1982)

In Japanese


  • Shanikusai (includes Rekuiemu, Aozora, and Shanikusai). 1971.
  • Doji no kage (includes Kitsune o haramu, Yurikago, and Doji no kage). 1973.
  • Mugura no haha (includes Mugura no haha and five other stories). 1975.
  • Kusa no fushido (includes Kusa no fushido, Hana wo maku, and Onibi). 1977.
  • Yorokobi no shima (includes Shateki, Kusamura, and eight other stories). 1978.
  • Hikari no ryobun (includes Hikari no ryobun and 11 other stories). 1979.
  • Suifu (includes Suifu, Tatokai, and three other stories). 1982.
  • Danmari ichi (includes Numa, Danmari ichi, and nine other stories). 1984.
  • Oma monogatari [Stories of Encounters with the Uncanny] (includes Fusehime, Kikumushi, and three other stories). 1984.
  • Mahiru e (includes Mahiru e and two other stories). 1988.
  • Yume no kiroku (includes Hoyo, Hikari kagayaku itten o, and eight other stories). 1988.
  • Kusamura—jisen tanpenshu (includes Kusamura, Kuchu buranko, and nine other stories). 1989.


  • ”Rekuiem—inu to otona no tameni” [Requiem—for Dogs and Adults]. 1969.
  • ”Shanikusai” [Carnival]. 1971.
  • ”Yurikago” [The Cradle]. 1971.
  • ”Kitsune o haramu” [Becoming Pregnant with a Fox]. 1972.
  • ”Doji no kage” [The Shadow of a Child]. 1973.
  • ”Ikimono no atsumaru ie” [The House Where Living Things Gather]. 1973.
  • ”Yukuefumei.” 1973; as ”Missing,” translated by Geraldine Har-court in The Shooting Gallery, 1988.
  • ”Mugura no haha” [Mother in the Bush]. 1974.
  • ”Hatsujoki.” 1974; as ”A Sensitive Season,” translated by Geraldine Harcourt in The Shooting Gallery, 1988.
  • ”Shateki.” 1975; as ”The Shooting Gallery,” translated by Geraldine Harcourt in The Shooting Gallery, 1988.
  • ”Kusamura.” 1976; as ”Clearing the Thickets,” translated by Geraldine Harcourt in The Shooting Gallery, 1988.
  • ”Kusa no fushido.” 1977; as ”A Bed of Grass,” translated by Yukiko Tanaka and Elizabeth Hanson in This Kind ofWoman: Ten Stories by Japanese Women Writers, 1960-76, 1982.
  • ”Hana o maku.” 1977; as ”To Scatter Flower Petals,” translated by Lora Sharnoff in Japan Quarterly 27(2), 1980; also as ”Scattering Flowers,” translated by Phyllis I. Lyons in Longman Anthology of World Literature by Women 1875-1975, 1989.
  • ”Yorokobi no shima.” 1977; as ”Island of Joy,” translated by Lora Sharnoff in Japan Quarterly 27(2), 1980.
  • ”Minamikaze.” 1978; as ”South Wind” translated by Geraldine Harcourt in The Shooting Gallery, 1988.
  • Choji. 1978; as Child of Fortune, translated by Geraldine Harcourt, 1983.
  • Hikari no ryobun [The Domain of Light]. 1978.
  • Moeru kaze [Burning Wind]. 1980.
  • Yama o hashiru onna. 1980; as Woman Running in the Mountains, translated by Geraldine Harcourt, 1991.
  • ”Numa.” 1981; as ”The Marsh,” translated by Yukiko Tanaka in Unmapped Territories: New Women’s Fiction from Japan, 1991.
  • Suifu [Water City]. 1982.
  • ”Danmari ichi.” 1982; as ”Silent Traders,” translated by Geraldine Harcourt in The Shooting Gallery, 1988.
  • Hi no kawa no hotori de [At the River of Fire]. 1983.
  • ”Kikumushi.” 1983; as ”Chrysanthemum Beetle,” translated by Geraldine Harcourt in The Shooting Gallery, 1988.
  • ”Hoyo.” 1985; as ”An Embrace,” translated by Geraldine Harcourt in The Shooting Gallery, 1988.
  • Yoru no hikari ni owarete [Chased by the Light of the Night]. 1986.
  • Hikari kagayaku itten o [The Shining Point of Light]. 1988.
  • Kaze yo, sora kakeru kaze yo [Wind, O Wind Running in the Sky]. 1995.
  • Hi no yama—yamazaruki [The Mountain of Fire—The Record of Mountain Monkeys]. 2 vols., 1996-97.
  • Warai ookami [The Laughing Wolf]. 2000.


  • Tomei kukan ga mieru toki [When One Sees Transparent Space] (essays). 1977.
  • Yoru no tipati [A Tea Party at Night] (essays). 1979.
  • Tsushima Yuko shi ni kiku [An Interview with Yuko Tsushima], in Subaru. December 1979.
  • Watashi no jikan [My Time] (essays). 1982.
  • Taidan: Sozoryoku to joseiteki na mono (dialogues with Kenzaburo Oe, on the imaginary and the feminine). 1985.
  • Hon no naka no shojo tachi [Girls in Books] (essays). 1989.
  • Kyaria to kazoku (dialogues with Margaret Drabble, on career and family). Iwanami Booklet series, vol. 163, 1990.
  • Ise monogatari, Tosa nikki—koten no tabi 2 (guide to classic Japanese literature). 1990; revised as Ise monogatari, Tosa nikki o tabi shiyo—koten o aruku 2, 1998. Izumi Kyoka (guide to Kyoka Izumi).
  • Gunzo nihon no sakka series, vol. 5, 1992.
  • Ani no yume, watashi no inochi [The Dream of Brother, My Life] (essays). 1999.

One thought on “Yūko Tsushima

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.