Alma mater Keio University
Spouse Hinako Sugiura
|Notable works Teito Monogatari|
Education Keio University
Name Hiroshi Aramata
|Born July 12, 1947 (age 68)
Tokyo, Japan (1947-07-12) |
Occupation Writer, polymath, translator, natural historian, scholar, literary critic, art critic, professor
Notable awards 1987 Nihon SF Taisho Award for Teito Monogatari 1989 Suntory Prize (サントリー学芸賞) for Illustrated Natural History: Fish of the World 2007 NISTEP (Navigator for Japan's Science and Technology) Award for 「サイエンスとアートの融合した展示の企画」 exhibition
Books Teito Monogatari, Birds of the world as painted by 19th-century artists
Movies and TV shows The Great Yokai War, Reign: The Conqueror, Doomed Megalopolis, Hey! Spring of Trivia, Teito Monogatari Gaiden
Similar People Hinako Sugiura, Shigeru Mizuki, Kyusaku Shimada, Natsuhiko Kyogoku, Yosuke Takahashi
Hiroshi Aramata (荒俣 宏, Aramata Hiroshi, born July 12, 1947) is a Japanese author, polymath, translator and specialist in natural history, iconography and cartography. His most popular novel was Teito Monogatari (Tale of the Capitol), which has sold over 5 million copies in Japan alone.
Aramata was born in Tokyo. As a child, he was an intense bibliophile and avid collector of old books.
After finishing high school, he immediately entered Keio University in 1966. During his time in college, he was mentored by acclaimed translator Hirai Te'ichii (who was responsible for providing the Japanese translations of the complete works of Lafcadio Hearn as well as Bram Stoker's Dracula). He heavily studied Western/Oriental magic and occult sciences. He graduated with a degree in law.
Around this time, he moonlighted as a Japanese translator for classic fantasy literature. The Japanese translations he produced during this period include H.P. Lovecraft's acclaimed novella The Shadow Out of Time, Lin Carter's study Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings", Lord Dunsany's fantasy works The Gods of Pegāna, The Charwoman's Shadow and The Travel Tales of Mr. Joseph Jorkens; George Macdonald's Lilith, William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land and The House on the Borderland; Abraham Merritt's The Ship of Ishtar and Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian novel, Hour of the Dragon.
Although involved in a variety of projects, his main source of income was working as a full-time computer programmer and systems engineer. Circa 1979, he was browsing through old bookstores at Tokyo University in the Kanda District and rediscovered lost natural history collections by Oro Bakufu and Georges Cuvier. This helped to reignite his interest in the field of natural history.
During this period Aramata participated in the development of the Heibonsha World Encyclopedia. While working on the Encyclopedia, he communicated with anthropologist Komatsu Kazuhiko, who communicated with him about many sources of strange and mysterious phenomena in Japanese folklore. Intrigued and excited by the information, Aramata decided that he wanted to write fiction as a way to share such esoteric knowledge with general readers.
Thus as a small side project, he began writing a novel entitled Teito Monogatari that would incorporate elements of lesser known Eastern occult phenomena with recognizable modern Japanese history. When the novel was published in 1985, it became a bestseller and earned him a great amount of recognition and prestige.
The success of Teito Monogatari provided him the necessary financial resources to fund his various natural history related compendiums. In 1987 he began publishing the Atlas Anima, which introduced the works of Conrad Gessner and Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon to modern Japanese readers. Subsequently this work is credited with eventually leading to a rediscovery of Western Natural History in Japan.
Since then, his reputation has grown increasingly popular in Japan as a man renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge on various subjects. He is one of Japan's most prolific writers, having authored and translated over a hundred different books, both fictional and non-fictional. His works span a wide range of topics from the occult to natural history, literary criticism, biology, cartography, and iconography. He is also known for his "Aramata Collection", a private library housing thousands of rare books from the 18th and 19th centuries.
He has served as a judge on the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize Awards since its inception and has done likewise for the Japan Fantasy Novel Award. He is also a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan association.
He was also an admirer and close friend of manga artist Shigeru Mizuki. Along with acclaimed yokai expert Natsuhiko Kyogoku, Aramata is a senior member of Shigeru Mizuki's Kwai (Scary Team) Organization. He also was one of the producers of the "Oh! Mizuki Shigeru" Exhibition in Tokyo.
In 2010, he served as General Producer of Nagoya's 400th anniversary festival.