10 Amazing Japanese Female Authors 2022

Are you looking to read books by the best Japanese female authors? Well, you’re in the right place to find them out!

As you may very well know, the world of books is primarily dominated by men, despite all avid female readers like me who are spanned across the length of the planet. Also, there are such beautiful pieces of writings by female authors from across the planet.

 I am a voracious reader, and although I love books by male authors, I have a special corner in my heart for female writers. It is because of my love and support for female writers that I try to read as many female writers as possible. I also read books by a lot of Japanese female writers. 

Best Japanese Female Authors: Quick Summary

Best Japanese Female AuthorBooks by the AuthorsCheck out price on Amazon
Banana YoshimotoKitchen (A Black cat book)- $13.49Check out price on Amazon
Yoko TawadaMemoirs of a Polar Bear– $14.99Check out price on Amazon
Sayaka MurataConvenience Store Woman: A Novel– $13.49Check out price on Amazon
Hiromi KawakamiStrange Weather in Tokyo: A Novel-$15.45Check out price on Amazon
Yukiko MotoyaThe Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories- $12.89Check out price on Amazon
Mieko KawakamiBreasts and Eggs: A Novel- $16.95Check out price on Amazon
Yoko OgawaThe Memory Police: A Novel- $14.40Check out price on Amazon
Natsuo KirinoOut: A Thriller- $12.99Check out price on Amazon

While you may only know Murakami as a Japanese writer, trust me when I say Japan has a plethora of excellent female writers that you absolutely need to get acquainted with. And so, I have brought to you some of the best Japanese female authors that you need to check out. 

Top Japanese Female Authors

Banana Yoshimoto

Best Japanese Female Authors

One of the most celebrated Japanese female authors is Banana Yoshimoto, who has been delivering fantastic writing to us since the late 1980s. She started writing ever since she was five years old. 

She has been writing stories ever since because she finds them extremely entertaining. She was named Mahoko by her parents, but because of her love for banana flowers, she changed her first name to Banana. 

Her first English novel is named Kitchen, which is also one of her most-loved works. This was the book that she wrote when she was working as a waitress at a country club in Tokyo. The novel is split into two parts, with both featuring female protagonists who are trying to cope up with death and loss. 

You really must read Yoshimoto if you love a writing style that is breezy and surreal. Her works are quite pleasurable to read, no matter where you are. In fact, I love reading her book when I am on a long train journey.

 It just makes traveling so much easier and fun. While the most common motif in her books is death, she also adds a touch of cooking in her books to appeal to the foodies. She is one of the best Japanese female authors.

Yoko Tawada 

Female books Japan,

Tawada, although born in Tokyo, moved to Hamburg, Germany when she was twenty-two. She still calls Germany her home and is one of the most successful writers of translated fiction. Yoko Tawada is the daughter of a Japanese bookseller and translator. 

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Today, she has a number of mind-bending novels to her name, both in German and Japanese. Ever since her writing career began, she has managed to earn several literary awards, including the Akutagawa Prize for her book Inu Muko Iri (The Bridegroom Was a Dog). She has also won the Goethe Medal and the Kleist Prize. 

If you are into a Kafkaesque reading style, you must definitely try out Tawada’s books. Her work contains a lot of excellent wordplays that will keep you hooked and interested. She also uses a lot of magical realism in her work that helps her add satire to real-life events. 

One of her magical books include Memoirs of a Polar Bear. This book is inspired by a polar bear named Knut, who was born at the Berlin Zoo.

Sayaka Murata

Japanese author books,

Sayaka Murata is one of the most well-known names in the world of critical acclaim. She is a female writer who has a lot of literary prizes to her name. The prizes that she has won include Gunzo Prize and the Akutagawa Prize. 

Her English language debut, Convenience Store Woman, has been a huge hit in the west. The novel is based on her own experiences while working for almost eighteen years at the convenience stores in Tokyo. 

It was because of her working shifts at the convenience store that she could structure her writing life. However, she finally quit working at the convenience store in 2017 and is now working as a full-time writer. 

Murata’s writing style has a lot of dark comedy that appeals to the reader a lot. Her books are perfect for those who believe they do not fit in society and think differently about everyday things like sex and marriage. Definitely, Murata is one of the best Japanese female authors of all times.

Related: Best Japanese Novels

Hiromi Kawakami

japanese female writers 20th century,

Kawakami is a fiction writer who writes in a way that makes everything seem very quirky and sweet. She has a writing style that is often compared to that of Banana Yoshimoto. However, this in no way means that her individual writing has no charm; her works are delightful and make you want to finish it off in one go. She is a born writer who loves penning down words and creating beautiful magic. 

Her debut novel is Kamisama, which means God. This book first came out when Kawakami was 36. The book won her the Pascal Short Story Prize for New Writers. She has also won the Akutagawa Prize. According to her, one of the major influences on her fictional writing is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. 

I love reading Kawakami because of the realistic portrayals of places like bars, forests, and houses. However, apart from this dreamy description, her works also bring us closer to the loneliness and alienation faced in the big city of Tokyo. Kawakami is the best Japanese female authors around the globe.

Yukiko Motoya

japanese feminist writers,

Yukiko Motoya is yet another notable Japanese female writer who is known for her collection of short stories, The Lonesome Bodybuilder. The collection contains a series of eleven intriguing and strange short stories. Motoya has had quite a diverse career, ranging from voice acting and DJing to playwriting and stage directing. 

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Motoya first entered the fictional world in 2002 with the publication of Eriko to Zettai. She is also well-loved by the Japanese media and can be seen making frequent media appearances. Her writing style is a perfect mix of humor and surreal, giving a perfect blend to fantasy and reality. Motoya is famous around the globe for being one of the best Japanese female authors.

Mieko Kawakami

Best women authors in Japan,

In the world of Japanese literature, Kawakami is probably one of the biggest names that you will come across. Her works are engaging and inviting and they make us see the world in a different light.

 Her works also shed a light on the women of the world and change the way we see them. One of Kawakami’s most notable works is Breasts and Eggs, which was originally written as a novella but was increased in length in its sequel. The book contains unmatched description portraying feminist power and scale. 

The book depicts three female characters, each with a different perspective about themselves and the way they view womanhood. It is a modern feminist masterpiece that has made Kawakami one of the biggest names in the world of literature. Meiko Kawakami is one of the best Japanese female authors.

Yoko Ogawa

Best books by woman,

Ogawa has really made a huge impact in the world of literature. Out of all the novels that she has written, only five have been translated into English. Despite this, her works remain one of the most exciting ones that you will come across. One of her most exciting works in translation is The Memory Police.

 The book was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize Award in 2020. The novel is a dystopian novel that can be read and interpreted from various perspectives. When you read Ogawa’s books, you will find a lot of instances that show the importance of human perspective and the bonds that we share with each other.

 Today, she is one of the most important Japanese authors that you will come across. You must definitely read Ogawa to know what a prolific writer she is.

Natsuo Kirino

Best women authors in Japan,

Natsuo Kirino is considered to be one of the classic authors of 20th century Japan. Each of her works is filled with a fire of feminism, so if you are a feminist, you will surely enjoy reading her works. 

Three of her novels, Out, Grotesque, and Real World revolve around the themes of murder, mysteries, and suspense. These novels help broaden your mind and change your perspectives on womanhood. 

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These also help you understand the actions and responsibilities that women take care of every single day. No wonder, Kirino is one of the best Japanese female authors.

Fumiko Enchi 

The late Japanese playwright and novelist Fumiko Ueda claimed impersonation of Fumiko Enchi under the pen name Fumiko Enchi. Fumiko’s parents were linguists, so she was tutored in French, English, Japanese and Chinese literature. Originally from Tokyo, Japan, she studied in the United States. 

The writings of Enchi and the beliefs she instills in her characters may seem outdated or conservative to a modern reader, but I must confess I found it refreshing to read. 

“A woman’s love is quick to turn into a passion for revenge–an obsession that becomes an endless river of blood, flowing on from generation to generation.” is a famous writeup of Fumiko Enchi, from Masks

Masks is a fictional novella named after the masks used in Japanese dramas. We meet the young widow Yasuko, whose husband, the only son of Meiko Togano, was tragically killed in an avalanche.

The writings of Enchi and the beliefs she instills in her characters may seem outdated or conservative to a modern reader, but I must confess I found it refreshing to read. 

Risa Wataya

Kyoto, Japan, was the birthplace of the author in 1984. Waseda University was where she received her degree. After she graduated from high school, she won the Bungei Prize, becoming the youngest winner of that prize.

The Akutagawa Prize was later won by the youngest person. Kenzaburo Oe Prize, which she won for the first time in her life. Over the years, she has written a number of novels and stories.

“I Want to Kick You in the Back,” which won Japan’s prestigious Aktugawa Prize for rising literary talent, is about Hatsu, a high school freshman having difficulty fitting in with her peers. 

This novella is a very pleasant, quick read. It is well paced, the characters have their likable, funny as well as their awkward sides.

Which Japanese female author should I read?

While all Japanese female authors are excellent in their works, the one female author you should not miss out on is Sayaka Murata.

 Sayaka Murata is one of the best Japanese female authors who is known for her debut novel, Convenience Store Women. She has written the novels based on her personal experiences working in several convenience stores across Tokyo. Murata’s writing style has a lot of dark comedy that appeals to the reader quite often. Her books are perfect for those who believe they do not fit in society and think differently about everyday things like sex and marriage.

The perfect read for those days!

I am such a voracious reader, you will always find me tucked in a corner with a book in my hand. I carry a book with me at all times and trust me, a book really helps to carry you to a different world, away from all that you are trying to forget.

Out of the numerous books that are available, I love the ones written by females. There is a whole different charm that keeps you hooked to each and every page. I have read the works of several female authors, and since I love them so much, I have shared some of the best female authors here. Give these authors a read and I am sure you will love them too. 

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