Famous People in Japan

Mizukami Tsutomu

Date of Birth March 8th,1919
Place of Birth Fukui

Mizukami Tsutomu is a novelist. He was born and raised in a poor village. When he was 10 years old, his parents decided he should go to Kyoto to become an apprentice in Shoukoku-ji which belonged to the Rinzai sect. Because he could go to junior high school, he had only to work in Zuishun-in which was a part of Shoukoku-ji.

After one year, he received the "tokudo-shiki" which was a rite to become a priest. However, the master in Zuishun-in had many faults, so Tsutomu escaped when he was 13 years old. Later, he wrote some books (such as "Gan no Tera" which receoved the Naoki Prize.) by making the best use of his experiences during his 3 years there.

After three months, he stayed at another temple whose name was Touji-in which was the Tenryu-ji group. However, he couldn't live in peace and quiet here, either. After he served as an "Inji" whose work was to make dinner, give a bath, or wash for his master, he resigned from his apprenticeship. In 1937, he worked during the day and went to Ritsumeikan University at night, but he left school. He changed jobs and moved to Manchuria.

After World War II, he went to Tokyo. In 1948, "Kiri to Kage" which was about the Nikkyo Truck Unit Affair was published. The mystery came from a true story. The bookwas highly evaluated and he became a novelist who wrote mysteries about social conditions. Next year, "Umi no Kiba" which was about Minamata Disease and "Mi Mi" which was about a strike in a publishing company were published. These books were nominated for the Naoki Prize for two consecutive years. In 1961, he become a prizewinner of the Naoki Prize owing to "Gan no Tera". In 1963, "Gobancho Yugiri Rou", "Kiga Kaikyou" and "Echizen Take Ningyou" were published.

His works have great appeal to us. Readers are often moved by his expression of emotion and the anguish of the characters in his novels. Also, the strong will and power which the hero and heroine has overpower us and keeps us reading until the end. He continues his works up to now and sometimes enjoys producing ceramic art with earth in his hometown.

References: "Mizukami Tsutomu ni yoru Mizukami Tsutomu"

Reported by: Nagata Akiyo
Data verified by: Hiromi Kitanaka
Date of Report: November 1996

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