| Mitsugu Saotome|
| December 23, 2008, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan|
Kyojin no Ori (1968)
Mitsugu Saotome Wikipedia
Mitsugu Saotome (早乙女貢, Saotome Mitsugu, January 1, 1926 – December 23, 2008) was the pen-name of a Japanese writer of historical fiction in Shōwa and Heisei period Japan. His real name was Kanegae Hideyoshi.
Saotome's grandfather was a samurai of Aizu Domain, and following the defeat of the domain in the Boshin War, immigrated to the United States. However, he later returned to Yokohama and from there to Shanghai. Saotomo was born in Harbin, Manchuria in Northeast China, and thus was raised in Manchukuo; however, following the defeat of Japan in World War II, he was evacuated to Kyushu in 1946. He moved to Tokyo in 1948, and attended Keio University's Literature Department, but left school before graduating. In 1954, the noted author, Yamamoto Shugoro, agreed to become his tutor.
In 1956, together with other like-minded authors, he formed a literary criticism group called Shosetsu Kaigi ("Fiction Conference"), with members supporting each other by reviewing each other's work. One of the products of this collaboration was his novel Kyojin no Ori, about the María Luz Incident, which was awarded the prestigious Naoki Prize in 1968.
Saotome claimed that his ancestry from led to his interest in historical matters, and the bulk of his work has been historical fiction set in the Sengoku, Edo or Bakumatsu periods. He was awarded the Yoshikawa Eiji Literatary Award in 1988 for his monumental 21-volume Aizu Shikon ("The Soul of Aizu Samurai"). Many of his works have been adapted into movies or television series.
In 2006, he was elected the chairman of the Japanese P.E.N.. After contracting stomach cancer, Saotome died at a hospital in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan.