Detailed view for the Author: Eiji Yoshikawa

Full Name:
Eiji Yoshikawa
Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Birth date:
Tokyo, Japan
Death date:


Average Enjoyability:
10 votes
Average Rereadability:
10 votes
Average Complexity:
10 votes
Average Character Development:
10 votes

Author Biography: He was born Hidetsugu Yoshikawa (Yoshikawa Hidetsugu) in Kanagawa Prefecture, in what is now a part of Yokohama. Because of his father's failed business, he had to drop out of primary school to work when he was eleven years old. When he was 18, after a near-fatal accident working at the Yokohama docks, he moved to Tokyo and became an apprentice in a gold lacquer workshop. Around this time he became interested in comic haiku. He joined a poetry society and started writing comic haikus under the pseudonymn "Kijiro".

In 1914, with The Tale of Enoshima, he won first prize in a novel-writing contest sponsored by the publisher Kodansha. He joined the newspaper Maiyu Shimbun in 1921, and in the following year he began publishing serializations, starting with Life of Shinran.

He married Yasu Akazawa in 1923, the year of the Great Kanto Earthquake. His experiences in the earthquake strengthened his resolve to make writing his career. In the following years he published stories in various periodicals published by Kodansha, which recognized him as their number one author. He used 19 different pen names before settling on Yoshikawa Eiji. He first used this pen-name with the serialization of Sword Trouble, Woman Trouble. His name became a household word after Secret Record of Naruto was serialized in the Osaka Mainichi Shimbun. From then on the public's appetite for his brand of adventure writing was insatiable.

In the early thirties his writing became introspective, reflecting growing troubles in his personal life. But in 1935, with the serialization of Miyamoto Musashi in the Asahi Shimbun, his writing settled firmly in the genre of historical adventure fiction.

Upon the outbreak of war with China in 1937 the Asahi Shimbun sent him into the field as a special correspondent. At this time he also divorced Yasu Akazawa and married Fumiko Ikedo. During the war he continued writing novels, and became more influenced by Chinese culture. Among the works of this period are Taiko and his re-telling of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

At the end of the war he stopped writing and settled down to a quiet retirement in Yoshino (present-day Oumeshi) on the outskirts of Tokyo, but he soon started writing again in 1947. His post-war works include New Tale of the Heike, published in the Asahi Weekly (1950), and A Private Record of the Pacific War (1958).

He was awarded the Cultural Order of Merit in 1960 and the Mainichi Art Award just before his death in 1962, of cancer.

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