Five Questions with… Mitsuyo Kakuta

Mitsuyo Kakuta, a contributing author to March Was Made of Yarn and an upcoming IFOA participant, answered our five questions!

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IFOA: How did you become involved in the March Was Made of Yarn project?

© Hisaaki Mihara

© Hisaaki Mihara

Mitsuyo Kakuta: I was asked by an editor of the anthology to write a short story related to the Great Tohoku Earthquake. I heard a part of the royalties would be donated towards post-disaster reconstruction. I liked the idea, so I participated.

IFOA: You’ve said that you wanted to become a writer from an early age. Is there something (or someone) you can attribute this to?

Kakuta: I read a children’s book by Miyoko Matsutani, and that made me think I wanted to write stories like hers. I was seven years old at the time.

IFOA: Several of your books have been adapted for film. What has it been like seeing your stories transported to the big screen?

Kakuta: I believe that the purpose of a film is not just to animate a novel. It is a different medium of expression. Therefore, it is particularly interesting for me to see parts of the film, which are different from my novel. I often even forget that it is based on my own novel.Kakuta, March Was Made of Yarn

IFOA: Do you have a favourite Japanese writer you could recommend to our readers?

Kakuta: I would recommend Mr. Shuichi Yoshida, Ms. Yoko Ogawa and Ms. Kaori Ekuni.

IFOA: What are you working on now?

Kakuta: Now I am working not on an original novel, but on a modern translation of “The Tale of Genji.” It will take me three years to complete the entire project.

 Mitsuyo Kakuta is one of the most popular female novelists active in Japan today. Born in Yokohama in 1967, she graduated from Waseda University’s Faculty of Literature in 1989. She has received numerous literary prizes, including the Naoki Prize, the Chuo Koron Literary Prize and the Renzaburo Shibata Prize. Two of her bestselling novels, The Eighth Day and Pale Moon, have been made into acclaimed films in Japan. She presents a reading from March Was Made of Yarn, which explores the March 2011 earthquake that devastated Japan. Kakuta is one of 22 writers to offer insight into this tragedy.