23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Risa Wataya

Risa Wataya (with the real name of Risa Yamada) was born in Kyoto in 1984 and is one of the most successful young female writers in Japan.
In 2001, at the age of 17, she published her debut »Insutōru« (tr. Install), for which she was awarded the 38th Bugei Prize for Literature. The novel has been translated into Korean, Italian and French. A film based on the book with the famous actress Aya Ueto was screened in 2004. She was a student at Waseda University in Tokyo, when the Akutagawa Award was bestowed upon her for her second novella »Keritai Senaka« (2003; tr, Behind Your Paper Door). At only 19, she was the youngest writer ever to receive this prestigious literary award. About 1.4 million readers in Japan enjoyed the story about Hatsu and the introverted Ninagawa, and everyday life at a Japanese school. Wataya’s language is full of metaphors and offers subtle insights into the problems of young people. It realistically depicts the unsteady emotional world of the youth. At first glance the plot seems to correspond to your typical youth book. However, the story eventually does away with the traditional features of a text for young people. The original »expectations« of the reader will not be satisfied. »Keritai Senaka« is, therefore, not the kind of youth literature we are used to. Wataya’s third novel »Yume wo ataeru« (tr. To Give a Dream) appeared in 2005 and was awarded the Prize for Young Artists of the Kyoto Prefecture in 2008. »Katte ni furuetero« (tr. Tremble All You Want) is her most recent book, published in 2010. The protagonists of the story are of the same age as the writer, when she wrote the novel. In a shrewd way she describes their problems, feelings, and thoughts, while also portraying the life of women in Japan today in a clear and realistic language. Her books, therefore, find resonance among all generations. Wataya opens a way into her own world in a way that does not fit into the traditional categories of literature. The writer lives in Kyoto.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin


Kawade Shobo Shinsha
Tokio, 2001

Yume o ataeru
Kawade Shobo Shinsha
Tokio, 2006

Hinter deiner Tür aus Papier
Hamburg, 2007
[Ü: Sabine Mangold]