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Ishihara Fujio

Entry updated 26 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

(1933-    ) Japanese sf author, science writer, inventor and bibliographer, who chronicled the publishing history of the genre in Japan in the days before the internet. A graduate in electronics from Waseda University, Ishihara initially worked in telecommunications for the Japanese phone company NTT, before becoming a professor at Tamagawa University. His debut work "Kōsoku Dōro" ["Highway"] (August 1965 S-F Magazine; fixup as Highway Wakusei 1967) features investigators from Earth who land on a planet where a departed Alien race has apparently constructed and then abandoned a global highway system (see Transportation), to which local lifeforms have adapted. It became the first of his Kōseiki Sekai [Light Century] series, a Future History exploring star systems and Life on Other Worlds in a notional sphere within a fifty light-year radius of our own. Ishihara also took an early interest in Computers and their likely implications for human society. Computer ga Shinda Hi ["The Day the Computers Died"] (1972), is a Disaster novel that prefigures similar real-world panic about the Millennium Bug.

His main impact is in nonfiction, as the archivist of the postwar genre in Japan, and a popularizer of science concepts in a wide range of books, spanning the science of the Manga Doraemon, serious accounts of Space Flight and the history of Communications. He received a Seiun Award for Kōseiki Sekai ["The Light Century"] (1984), the first of several guides to the milieu of his best-known fiction, loaded with astronomical data. In his meticulous detailing of likely conditions in nearby star systems, he provided strong foundations for later Hard SF authors, and has been cited by Hōsuke Nojiri and Yasumi Kobayashi as an influence on their own world-building. He revisited the topic in several other books, and was also one of the Japanese translators of Islands in the Sky: Bold New Ideas for Colonizing Space (1996; trans 1997) by Stanley Schmidt and Robert Zubrin.

His greatest work is the mammoth bibliography SF Tosho Kaisetsu Sōmokushiroku ["SF Grand Annotated Catalogue"] (1982, 1989-91), a multivolume list of all science fiction, domestic and foreign, published in Japan since 1946. An accretion of lesser magazine indices, it was seized upon in the academic community yet is almost entirely unknown in general fandom. During the data enclosures of the late 1990s, large parts of its content appear to have migrated to the internet, and form the uncredited basis for much online information on Japanese sf. Ishihara received Japan's SF Grand Prix in 1991 in recognition of his bibliographic work. In later life, he served on the board of Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine, where the spirits of Japan's military dead, including the perpetrators of several World War Two atrocities, are enshrined as Shintō deities. This led to his authorship of a book explaining the shrine's policies and history, which failed to lessen his estrangement from the liberal faction in Japanese fandom. [JonC]

Fujio Ishihara

born Tokyo: 1 April 1933



Kōseiki Sekai

  • Highway Wakusei ["Highway Planet"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1967) [fixup: Kōseiki Sekai: binding unknown/]
  • Antenna Wakusei ["Antenna Planet"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1967) [Kōseiki Sekai: binding unknown/]
  • Struldbrugg Wakusei ["Struldbrugg Planet"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1975) [Kōseiki Sekai: binding unknown/]
  • Black Hole Wakusei ["Black Hole Planet"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1979) [Kōseiki Sekai: binding unknown/]
  • Time Machine Wakusei ["Time Machine Planet"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1981) [Kōseiki Sekai: binding unknown/]
  • Hinioshio-go no Bōken ["Adventure of the Hinoshio"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1982) [Kōseiki Sekai: binding unknown/]

individual titles

nonfiction (selected)


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