Mayumura Taku




Mayumura Taku (real name: Murakami Takuji) is probably best-known in Japan for his juvenile science fiction, such as Nazo no Tenkōsei [Mysterious Transfer Student; 1967], Maboroshi no Pen Friend [Phantom Penpal; 1974] and Nerawareta Gakuen (The Stalked High School; 1976). Many of his works have been produced in visual media, including film, made-for-TV movies, and animations. In addition, he has written some two thousand “short-short” stories, and has established himself as one of the most prolific authors in Japan.

He was born in Nishinari-ku, Osaka in 1934. After the end of World War II, he discovered Tezuka Osamu’s manga, and like so many other boys of the time, he tried his hand at drawing his own manga, starting in junior high school. Influenced by his father, a businessman and poet, he practiced writing haiku, entering the haiku club at his high school. He played a central role in the university poetry club’s magazine while attending Osaka University (Department of Economics), while at the same time serving as captain of the judo club team. In 1957 he graduated, and started work right away with a refractory brick manufacturer in Osaka.

At the end of that year, Hayakawa Shobō launched its series of science fiction translations, and the following year six translated science fiction works were published by Kōdansha. Mayumura discovered science fiction through these books, including Martians, Go Home! by Frederick Brown. As did so many other Japanese authors of the first post-War generation, he recognized the potential of science fiction as a way to enter the world of literature. He began to submit stories to SF Magazine, which Hayakawa began publishing at the end of 1959. Mori Masaru, the editor, introduced him to Shibano Takumi’s Uchūjin science fiction magazine, and Mayumura began publishing stories in almost every issue. His work was promptly noticed by Nakahara Yumihiko, the editor of mystery-oriented Hitchcock Magazine, and his first commercial sale appeared there: a short-short in the May 1961 issue. He submitted Gekyū Ideaman [Low-Grade Ideaman] to the First Science Fiction Contest hosted jointly by SF Magazine and Toho, the film company, winning an honorable mention. The story appeared in the October issue of SF Magazine the same year.

In May 1963 he was the first of his generation of authors to publish a novel, releasing Moeru Keisha [The Burning Incline]. He then resigned his regular job and devoted himself full-time to writing.

From his first stories, influenced by science fiction from the US and other nations, Mayumura wrote to illuminate issues of society and the individual, and developed his own theory of “insider SF.” He continued to return to this theme, examining the role of the insider as a prime mover in changing an organization (society), and the resulting conflicts between organization and individual, throughout the Administrator series. This series started with Shiseikan (Administrator) in 1974, which was followed by Nagai Akatsuki [Long Dawn; 1980], his award-winning Shōmetsu no Kōrin [Vanishing Halo; 1979], and the enormous, five-volume Hikishio no Toki [Time of the Ebb Tide; completed 1995], which required thirteen years to complete. In addition to his recurring theme, however, he completed a range of other work, including the semi-autobiographical Nubatama no... [The Blackness; 1978], Katamuita Chiheisen [Inclined Horizon; 1981] and Yūyake no Kaiten Mokuba [Merry-go-Round at Twilight; 1986], another award winner. While these are representative of his best work, other large and well-received works include the eight-volume Futeiki Esper [Irregular Esper; 1988 to 1990] series and the historical science fiction novel Carthage no Unmei [The Fate of Carthage; 1998]. He is currently a professor at the Osaka University of Arts, in Osaka, Japan.

Takahashi Ryōhei

Award winning works by Mayumura Taku

Gekyū Ideaman [Low-Grade Ideaman]

  • Honorable mention in the 1st Japan SF Grand Prize (Japanese Nebula) (1961)

Shōmetsu no Kōrin [Vanishing Halo]

  • 7th Izumi Kyōka Literary Prize (1979)
  • Seiun Award (Japanese Hugo) (1979), 18th Japan SF Convention

Yūyake no Kaiten Mokuba [Merry-go-Round at Twilight]

  • 7th Japan Arts Grand Prize (1987)

Hikishio no Toki [Time of the Ebb Tide]

  • Seiun Award (Japanese Hugo) (1996), 27th Japan SF Convention

Kurodahan Press books by this author (including in production):

  • Administrator (Shiseikan) (in English)
  • Yūyake no Kaiten Mokuba [Merry-go-Round at Twilight] (in Japanese)
  • Hikishio no Toki [Time of the Ebb Tide] (in Japanese)

The Administrator Series

This series consists of two collections and two novels. The titles shown here are the romanized Japanese. Official English titles have not yet been decided for works other than Administrator, so the other English titles given below are merely literal translations of the Japanese.

Shiseikan (Administrator), published 1974, including:

  • Haruka naru Mahiru (A Distant Noon)
  • Honō to Hanabira (The Flame and the Blossom)
  • Iseki no Kaze (The Wind in the Ruins)
  • Genkai no Janus (Bound Janus)

English translation published by Kurodahan Press.

Nagai Akatsuki [Long Dawn], published 1980, including:

  • Nagai Akatsuki [Long Dawn]
  • Terikaeshi no Oka [Reflecting Hill]
  • Tobira no Hiraku Toki [When the Door Opens]

Shōmetsu no Kōrin [Vanishing Halo], published 1979 in 3 volumes

Hikishio no Toki [Time of the Ebb Tide], published 1989 to 1995 in 5 volumes (Kurodahan Press is currently reissuing this series in Japanese.)

Based on internal evidence, these can be put in rough chronological order as follows:

  • Nagai Akatsuki [Long Dawn]
  • Terikaeshi no Oka [Reflecting Hill]
  • Honō to Hanabira (The Flame and the Blossom)
  • Tobira no Hiraku Toki [When the Door Opens]
  • Haruka naru Mahiru (A Distant Noon)
  • Iseki no Kaze (The Wind in the Ruins)
  • Genkai no Janus (Bound Janus)
  • Shōmetsu no Kōrin [Vanishing Halo]
  • Hikishio no Toki [Time of the Ebb Tide]

Kurodahan Press

Kurodahan Press
2305-9 Yunomae Machi
Kuma-gun, Kumamoto
868-0600 JAPAN