Banana Yoshimoto: Biography

Banana Yoshimoto

24 jul 1964

Banana Yoshimoto is the pseudonym for Mahoko Yoshimoto who was born in Tokyo, Japan on July 24, 1964 to a father that was a poet as well as a literary critic. Yoshimoto chose the name “Banana “for herself because she loves the banana flowers. She attended Nihon University to pursue a degree in literature. While at university, Yoshimoto wrote a story that won the faculty prize and which must have been a presage of things to come.

Yahomo admits that she started writing when she was about five years-old due to her need to find something of her own to do because of her sister’s involvement in art. When asked about some of the major influences in her writing, she cited Stephen King, the American author, Capote and Singer as well as her own dreams.

It should not be too surprising that her first book was called Kitchen since she wrote it while working as a waitress. It went on to win the Kaien Newcomer Writers Prize in Japan and has been reprinted as many as sixty times and it has also been made into a film in Japan and then in Hong Kong. Another of her books, Tsugumi, was also made into a movie.

Yokimoto is a prolific writer whose books are aimed at youth and deal with the angst of modern living in the daily lives of Japanese young people. A streak of radicalism and rebellion is also present in her works, many of which are considered unconventional. She also writes short stories and essays.

In her Japan, her own country, she is a sensation and has an almost cult-like following. Internationally, she is well known as over six million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. For example, in Italy she has won several literary awards.

Banana Yokimoto is a very private person so little is known about her personal life except that she is married and has one child.