“I wanted to see how I would react if I lived as I wanted.”
TRQ: Chiya Fujino, Born February 27, 1962
Transexual humourist and writer Chiya Fujino, winner of the Akutagawa Prize in 2000, was born in Fukuoka, Fujino. Fujino attended Chiba University, and soon worked as an editor for a Japanese manga magazine. However, after a few years, when Fujino began dressing as a woman, she was disciplined for being a corrupting moral influence.
Fujino later explained that she felt that she could not continue working for the magazine, and it was then that she decided to launch her own writing career. She took to writing about characters that are clearly out of step with the mainstream, who also just happen to be gay.
As she told the Asahi Shimbun, Fujino’s approach to gay issues is not to treat homosexualityas a weighty issue. She is not interested in writing treatises on prejudice or the problems of being gay. Everyone has some sense of not fitting in, Fujino says in an interview with writerKuroi Senji in Bungakukai. Funjino’s prefers describing general social disconnect with subtlety.
In 1995, Fujino published Afternoon Timetable, featuring a transsexual protagonist. For this, she won the Kaien Newcomer Literary Prize, less than two years after leaving the manga magazine. Afterwards Fujino won the Noma Literary Newcomer Prize for Talking Kaidan and the Akutagawa Prize for Summer Promise.
Published in 2000, Summer Promise won the Akutagawa Prize, and gives a glimpse into the daily lives of young, urban gay professionals in Tokyo. For this, the governor of Tokyo criticized Fujino and the book as abnormal for its focus on gay characters.
In a 2018 interview, Fujino says that she approaches the future intuitively. “I don’t think much ahead, so I have no prospects. It’s often more about finding things that you can write than thinking ahead. I’m picking up what I can write.”