Japanese People Famous Writers from Japan

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List of famous writers from Japan, listed alphabetically with photos when available. Japan is home to many prolific writers, including those who write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biographies and more. These are some of the best Japanese writers that have ever lived, so if you're a native of Japan and an aspiring writer then use this list as inspiration to achieve your own writing goals.

Examples of writers on this list include Hiroshi Teshigahara and Atsumu Ohmura.

This list answers the questions, "Who are popular Japanese writers?" and "Which writers are from Japan?"

You can click on the names of these renowned writers of Japan in order to get more information about each one. Some of these historic writers may no longer be living in Japan, but they're all of Japan descent.

1
Haruki Murakami is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 69 Haruki Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling ...more

2
Kazuo Ishiguro is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 64 Kazuo Ishiguro OBE, FRSA, FRSL is a British novelist. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan; his family moved to England in 1960 when he was five. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor's degree from the ...more

3
Kenzaburō Ōe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 83 Kenzaburō Ōe is a Japanese author and a major figure in contemporary Japanese literature. His works, strongly influenced by French and American literature and literary theory, deal with ...more

4
Yoji Yamada is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 87 Yoji Yamada is a Japanese film director best known for his Otoko wa Tsurai yo series of films and his Samurai Trilogy. He was born in Osaka. But because of the work of his father, who was an ...more

5
Hayao Miyazaki is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 77 Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist. Through a career that has spanned five decades, Miyazaki has attained international ...more

6
Liv Ullmann is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 80 Liv Johanne Ullmann is a Norwegian actress and film director. She is known as one of the "muses" of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Ullmann won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – ...more

7
Akira Kurosawa is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 88 (1910-1998) Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese filmmaker. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years. ...more

8
Yoko Ono is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 85 Yoko Ono, is a Japanese multimedia artist, singer, and peace activist. She is the widow and second wife of John Lennon and is also known for her work in avant-garde art, music, and filmmaking. ...more

9
Kōichi Mashimo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 66 Kōichi Mashimo is a well-known Japanese anime director and the founder of the animation studio Bee Train. Since the creation of the studio, Mashimo directed or otherwise participated in all its ...more

10
Takeshi Kitano is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 71 Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese director, comedian, singer, actor, show host, film editor, presenter, screenwriter, author, poet, painter, and one-time video game designer who has received critical ...more

11
Mitsuo Fukuda is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 58 Mitsuo Fukuda is a Japanese anime and film director best known for his work on Future GPX Cyber Formula, Gear Fighter Dendoh, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. He is ...more

12
Takashi Miike is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 58 Takashi Miike is a highly prolific and controversial Japanese filmmaker. He has directed over ninety theatrical, video, and television productions since his debut in 1991. Miike is credited with ...more

13
Mamoru Oshii is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 67 Mamoru Oshii is a Japanese filmmaker, television director, and writer. Famous for his philosophy-oriented storytelling, Oshii has directed a number of popular anime, including Urusei Yatsura, ...more

14
Tomoyuki Tanaka is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Tomoyuki Tanaka Died at 87 (1910-1997) Tomoyuki Tanaka was a Japanese film producer, most famous for creating the Godzilla series. He was born in Kashiwara, Osaka, Japan on April 26, 1910, and died in Tokyo on April 2, 1997. Tanaka ...more

15
Hideaki Anno is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 58 Hideaki Anno is a Japanese animator, film director and actor. Anno is best known for his work on the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. His style has come to be defined by the touches ...more

16
Osamu Dezaki is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Osamu Dezaki Died at 68 (1943-2011) Osamu Dezaki, also known as Makura Saki, 斉九洋, Matsudo Kan or Yabuki Toru, was a Japanese anime director, born on November 18, 1943 in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

17
Yukio Mishima is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 45 (1925-1970) Mishima Yukio is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka, a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, and film director. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th ...more

18
Ann Hui is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 71 Ann Hui On-Wah, MBE is a Hong Kong actress, film director, film producer and occasional screenwriter, one of the most critically acclaimed amongst the Hong Kong New Wave. She is best known for ...more

19
Gisaburō Sugii is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Gisaburō Sugii age 78 Gisaburō Sugii is an anime director and Nihonga artist. Born in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, he is a member of the anime studio Group TAC, and is best known for his work as director of ...more

20
Kinji Fukasaku is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 73 (1930-2003) Kinji Fukasaku was a Japanese film director and screenwriter. He is known for directing samurai period and yakuza films such as Battles Without Honor and Humanity, the Japanese portion of the ...more

21
Kon Ichikawa is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 93 (1915-2008) Kon Ichikawa was a Japanese film director.

22
Noriko Sakai is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 47 Noriko Sakai is a Japanese singer and actress. She was born in Japan, Fukuoka, debuting in 1986 as an idol singer identity, when her short hair style, sweet smile, youthful image became a ...more

23
Kenji Kawai is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 61 Kenji Kawai, born April 23, 1957 in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Tokyo, is a Japanese music composer, for motion pictures, anime movies, video games and televised programs. He has contributed to the ...more

24
Kaneto Shindo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 100 (1912-2012) Kaneto Shindo was a Japanese film director, screenwriter, film producer, and author. He directed 48 films and wrote scripts for 238. His best known films as a director include Children of ...more

25
Frank Spotnitz is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 58 Frank Spotnitz is an American television writer and producer, best known for his work on The X-Files television series.

26
Jūzō Itami is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 64 (1933-1997) Juzo Itami, born Yoshihiro Ikeuchi, was a Japanese actor and a film director. The ten movies he directed, all of which he wrote himself, are comic satires.

27
Mako Iwamatsu is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 73 (1933-2006) Mako Iwamatsu was a Japanese-born American actor and voice artist who has been nominated for numerous awards. Many of his acting roles credited him simply as Mako where he omits his surname. He ...more

28
Lafcadio Hearn is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 54 (1850-1904) Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, known also by the Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo, was an international writer, known best for his books about Japan, especially his collections of Japanese legends and ...more

29
Shinya Tsukamoto is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 58 Shinya Tsukamoto is a Japanese film director and actor with a considerable cult following both domestically and abroad.

30
Yoshitaka Asama is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 78 Yoshitaka Asama is a screenwriter and a film director.

31
Shohei Imamura is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 80 (1926-2006) Shohei Imamura was a Japanese film director. Imamura is the only Japanese director to win two Palme d'Or awards.

32
Daisaku Ikeda is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 90 Daisaku Ikeda is the spiritual leader and former president of the Nichiren Buddhist Soka Gakkai, the largest of Japan's new religious movements, and also one of the most controversial. Ikeda is ...more

33
Gackt is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 45 Gackt Camui, better known by his stage name Gackt, is a Japanese musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. He has been active since 1994, first as the frontman of the short-lived ...more

34
Leiji Matsumoto is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 80 Leiji Matsumoto is a well-known creator of several anime and manga series. His wife Miyako Maki is also known as a manga artist.

35
Isao Takahata is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 83 Isao Takahata is a Japanese film director, animator, screenwriter and producer who has earned critical international acclaim for his work as a director of anime films. Takahata is the co-founder ...more

36
Osamu Tezuka is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 61 (1928-1989) Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese cartoonist, animator, film producer, and activist. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of the comics series Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and ...more

37
Yasushi Inoue is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 84 (1907-1991) Yasushi Inoue was a writer, novelist, poet and essayist.

38
Nagisa Oshima is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 81 (1932-2013) Nagisa Oshima was a Japanese film director and screenwriter. His films include In the Realm of the Senses and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

39
Ishirō Honda is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 82 (1911-1993) Ishirō Honda, sometimes miscredited in foreign releases as "Inoshiro Honda", was a Japanese film director. He is best known for his kaiju and tokusatsu films, including several entries ...more

40
Masahiro Shinoda is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 87 Masahiro Shinoda is a Japanese film director, originally associated with the Shochiku Studio, who came to prominence as part of the Japanese New Wave in the 1960s.

41
Tōru Takemitsu is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 66 (1930-1996) Toru Takemitsu was a Japanese composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Largely self-taught, Takemitsu possessed consummate skill in the subtle manipulation of instrumental and ...more

42
Shintaro Ishihara is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 86 Shintaro Ishihara is a Japanese politician and author who was Governor of Tokyo from 1999 to 2012. His arts career included a prize-winning novel, best-sellers and work also in theater, film and ...more

43
Mitsuru Hongo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Mitsuru Hongo age 59 Mitsuru Hongo is a Japanese anime director of film and television. Hongo originally worked at Ajiado as an animator but moved to Shin-Ei Animation where he directed Crayon Shin-chan. He left in ...more

44
Hirokazu Koreeda is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 56 Hirokazu Koreeda is a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter and editor.

45
Shūsaku Endō is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Died at 73 (1923-1996) Shūsaku Endō was a Japanese author who wrote from the rare perspective of a Japanese Roman Catholic. Together with Junnosuke Yoshiyuki, Shōtarō Yasuoka, Junzo Shono, Hiroyuki Agawa, Ayako Sono, ...more

46
Reiko Yoshida is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
Reiko Yoshida age 51 Reiko Yoshida is a female Japanese screenwriter and manga artist.

47
Kaori Momoi is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 66 Kaori Momoi is a Japanese actress.

48
Masi Oka is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 44 Masayori "Masi" Oka is a Japanese-American actor and digital effects artist. He became widely known for his role on NBC's Heroes as Hiro Nakamura.

49
Ai Kago is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 30 Ai Kago is a Japanese singer, actress, author and former Guinness World Record holder. At age 12, Kago won the 4th National Audition of Morning Musume held by the Up-Front Works Agency in 2000, ...more

50
Kiyoshi Kurosawa is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Writers from Japan
age 63 Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a Japanese film director, screenwriter, film critic and a professor at Tokyo University of the Arts. He is best known for his many contributions to the Japanese horror