This weeks Illustrated Women in History was submitted by Sade John @sadiesavestheday for the Illustrated Women in History exhibition in April 2017 at Swindon Central Library.
Banana Yoshimoto is the pen name of Japanese writer Mahoko Yoshimoto. She has achieved worldwide popularity for her unusual stories and characters.
Yoshimoto began writing while at the College of Art at Nihon University, Tokyo. During this time, she adopted the pen name ‘Banana’ due to her love of banana flowers. Her graduation story, Moonlight Shadow won her the Izumi Kyoka Prize from the University.
Yoshimoto wrote her first novel, Kitchin (Kitchen) while working as a waitress, and followed this up with Kanashii yokan (Sad Foreboding) and Utakata/Sankuchuari (Bubble/Sanctuary). In 1989 her books began to be translated into other languages, and in 1993 Moonlight Shadow and Kitchin were combined and published in English which led to a growth in her popularity and her work continued to be translated into more languages.
Yoshimoto writes about the exhaustion of young Japanese in contemporary Japan” and “the way in which terrible experiences shape a person’s life”. She has won a number of prizes for her work including the 6th Kaien Newcomers’ Literary Prize, the 2nd Yamamoto Shugoro Prize and the Murasaki-shikibu Prize. She has written 2 novels and seven collections of essays (including Pineapple Pudding and Song From Banana) which have sold over six million copies worldwide