Akiyuki NosakaAkiyuki Nosaka lost his mother at birth and was immediately entrusted into care by his father - a fact which he discovered only when his adoptive parents were killed in the American bombing of Kobe. At the age of 14, orphaned and alone in war-ravaged Japan, he saw his younger sister starve to death. He was sent to prison for stealing and involvement in the black market; after spending some time studying at university, he left to make a living doing odd jobs, including dog-washing and selling his own blood. He has made his name as a writer, journalist, lyricist, singer, model and rugby club manager, and joined the High Chamber of the Japanese Diet in 1983. Nosaka has written nearly 100 books, both fiction and non-fiction; his work is violent, both tragic and comical. War Stories for Children and Graves of the Fireflies were both inspired by his own childhood, and very movingly depict the effect of war on Japanese - and any - society. Nosaka is extremely well known in Japan today, not just as a writer, but also as a TV personality, scriptwriter, songwriter, comedian, singer and even politician. He suffered a stroke in 2003 but still writes for newspapers and radio.
Translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori.