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Mayumura Taku

Entry updated 28 August 2023. Tagged: Author.

Working name of Takuji Murakami (1934-2019) a Japanese author, late-night radio personality and sometime translator who found a new audience outside the genre with his last great work. After graduating in economics from Osaka University, he spent six years working for a large ceramics company, before drifting into sf authorship for Uchūjin and Yasutaka Tsutsui's Null magazine. He would draw on his "salaryman" experience in many later Satires that reconceived the traditional brave new worlds of sf as a treadmill of tedious business meetings and political opportunism. His breakout work was Expo '87 (1968), published two years before Japan hosted Expo '70, and positing a Near Future where industrial and commercial interests battle over the potentially rich pickings of a forthcoming World's Fair. For several years from 1970, he worked as a radio announcer between 1am and 7am on Saturday mornings, leading him to concentrate on short-short stories that did not interfere with his other job.

Commencing with "Hono'o to Hanabira" ["Flame and the Flower"] (October 1971 S-F Magazine), Mayumura's Shinseikan ["Administrator"] series of linked stories presented a Far Future scenario in which viceroys and civil servants of a Galactic Empire brokered disputes and managed Disasters on offworld colonies. Mayumura has characterized his own work as a Literature of the Insider ("insider bungakuron") in opposition to the detached observers of mainstream Japanese fiction, positioning his protagonists at a tense nexus between the rival forces of the organization and the individual. This might seem at first to be a re-invention of the wheel, not the least of Japan's traditional dramatic conflicts of giri (duty) versus ninjō (emotion). However, Mayumura's valorization of middle management in an sf context has won him great acclaim among a readership of Japanese commuters and office workers, and led to two Seiun Awards for stories in the Shinseikan series.

His lesser known Futeiki Esper ["Irregular Esper"] (1988-1989) spans eight volumes of Space Opera redolent of both Frank Herbert's Dune and E E Smith's Lensman series, in which contending noble houses use psychic soldiers to execute byzantine power-plays. Ishtar Rowe is a Guardsman charged with protecting Lady Ellen of House Ereshkov, in a picaresque series of missions that turn slowly to romance. Mayumura's creative peak came arguably in the 1990s, when he brought both serials to epic closure, slowed down his prolificacy in short stories, and produced the Time Travel novel Carthago no Unmei ["The Fate of Carthage"] (1990-1997 Rekishi Yomihon; fixup 1998), in which Japanese researchers observe the rise and fall of Hannibal, and compare his fate to that of Japan in World War Two (see History in SF). From 1990-1992, Mayumura also became a lecturer at the Osaka University of Arts.

Mayumura enjoyed a parallel fame as the author of Young Adult books, gaining a higher profile in the mass media through numerous adaptations of his work. Adapted into a television series of the same name in 1975 and a film in 1998, Nazo no Tenkōsei ["Mysterious New Student"] (1967) focused on undercover refugees from a destroyed planet, whose plans to also leave Earth point to the approaching End of the World. Other works similarly approached teenage social exclusion from a genre perspective, most notably Jigoku no Sainō ["Hellish Talent"] (1975), in which the high-school in-crowd is a coterie of psychic fascists from the future, and Nerawareta Gakuen ["School in Peril"] (coll 1976) in which a similar teen cabal is revealed as the products of an experiment in Uplift. These stories have been adapted several times, combined as the television series Mirai kara no Chōsen ["Challenge from the Future"] (1977), and the latter singly as the film Nerawareta Gakuen (1981), and two television series of the same title (1982; 1997). Maboroshi no Penfriend ["Mysterious Penfriend"] (1970), adapted for television in 1974, gives a teenage boy a rich, sophisticated girlfriend who seems too good to be true, and who turns out to be a herald of an invasion by Alien Robots, who intend to replace the people of Earth with android facsimiles (see The Stepford Wives [1974]).

Mayumura's other success in the YA market came with several stories of Time Travel, catapulting modern teenagers into historical periods likely to come up in their school exams. Omoi Agari no Natsu ["A Summer to Remember"] (coll 1977) was adapted into the television series Bakumatsu Miraijin ["People From the Future in the Time of the Fall of the Bakufu Shōgunate"] (1977). Other adaptations of his work, possibly even based on the same source, include the television series Bakumatsu Kōkōsei ["Highschool Students in the Time of the Fall of the Bakufu Shōgunate"] (1994). Toraerareta Schoolbus/Jikū no Tabibito ["A Schoolbus Snatched/Time Stranger"] (1981) was adapted into the Anime Toki no Tabibito ["Time Stranger"] (1986; vt Time Stranger). His efforts in the YA field seem have been conceived as an attempt to cash in on the success of Yasutaka Tsutsui's Toki o Kakeru Shōjo franchise. Indeed, new adaptations of Mayumura's work often seem to follow revivals of Tsutsui's like a form of literary aftershock. The collection Ikyō Henka ["Transformation of a Strange Land"] (1976), for example, is riddled with girls who "fall from the sky", "travel the galaxy" and undertake similar sf-like actions, in apparent imitation of Tsutsui's "girl who leapt through time".

Several of Mayumura's adult works have been adapted into other media, including "Shigoto o Kudasai" ["Please Give Me a Job"] (1966 Uchūjin), serialized for Radio. Meikyū Monogatari ["Tales of the Labyrinth"] (1986) was adapted into the Anime anthology film Meikyū Monogatari (1987; trans as Neo Tokyo, 1992 US), a notable apprentice piece that showcased the skills of a young Katsuhiro Ōtomo, among others. Mayumura has also occasionally also worked as a translator, most notably on a new version of The Time Machine (1895; trans 1997) by H G Wells. He is also credited as the Japanese co-translator with Tamiko Bjerner of several Tam Sventon detective mysteries by the Swedish author Åke Robert Holmberg. Mayumura also presented a cable television show, Sakka no Hot Time: Gendai Sakka Interview ["Author's Hot Time: Interviews With Modern Writers"] (2000).

Despite recurring themes of the absurdity and proletarianization of labour, Mayumura's work also possesses a strong sense of the romantic. "Fnifmum" (venue unknown; trans Katsumi Shindo and Grania Davis in The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories, anth 1989, ed John Apostolou and Martin H Greenberg) is a short story in the style of one of Italo Calvino's "cosmicomics" fables, presenting a snapshot of a crashlanded human couple, destined perhaps to become the Adam and Eve of their new homeworld. They are observed by a creature whose lifespan is measured in aeons, and which has been separated from its own mate by a Time Abyss.

In 1998, when Mayumura's wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he began Nichigawari Ichi-hanashi ["A Story A Day"] (1998) in order to distract her from her condition. Purportedly writing solely for an audience of one, this project would eventually extend to ten thousand pages, and endure for several years past Mrs Mayumura's original estimated terminal date. Tsuma ni Sasageta 1778 Hanashi ["1778 Stories for My Wife"] (coll 2004) contains 19 tales of varying length, written in daily three-page instalments. The story of Mayumura's Scheherazade-like attempt to keep death at bay was subsequently adapted into the film Watashi to Tsuma no 1778 Monogatari ["1778 Stories of My Wife and I"] (2011), likely to endure as Mayumura's own epitaph and best-known work in the modern Japanese mainstream. [JonC]

Takuji Murakami

born Osaka, Japan: 20 October 1934

died Osaka, Japan: 3 November 2019




  • Shiseikan ["Administrator"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobo, 1974) [coll of linked stories: Shiseikan: binding unknown/]
    • Administrator (Fukuoka: Kurodahan, 2004) [trans of the above by "Daniel Jackson": pb/Naoyuki Katō]
  • Shometsu no Korin ["Vanishing Halo"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobo, 1979) [in three volumes: Shiseikan: binding unknown/]
  • Nagai Akatsuki ["The Long Dawn"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobo, 1980) [coll of linked stories: Shiseikan: binding unknown/]
  • Hikishio no Toki ["Time of the Ebb Tide"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobo, 1995) [fixup: in five volumes: Shiseikan: binding unknown/]

Futeiki Esper

  • Gōein Ishtar Rowe ["Guardsman Ishtar Rowe"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1988) [Futeiki Esper: binding unknown/]
  • Nazo no Denuibe ["The Mysterious Denuibe"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1988) [Futeiki Esper: binding unknown/]
  • Ereshkov-ke Tsuihō ["The Flight of the House Ereshkov"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1988) [Futeiki Esper: binding unknown/]
  • Kaiyatz Gunheishi ["Soldiers of Kaiyatz"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1989) [Futeiki Esper: binding unknown/]
  • Ekreda Kōsen ["The Ekreda War"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1989) [Futeiki Esper: binding unknown/]
  • Gekitō Donine ["The Donine Ambush"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1989) [Futeiki Esper: binding unknown/]
  • Denwenus Hōkō ["Denwenus Awaits"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1989) [Futeiki Esper: binding unknown/]
  • Sankaku Chitai, Kyūshutsu, Tabidachi ["Triangle Belt, Rescue, Travellers"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1990) [Futeiki Esper: binding unknown/]

individual titles

  • Jun B-kyū Shimin ["Citizen of B-district"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1965) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Gen'ei no Kōsei ["Phantom Configuration"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1966) [binding unknown/]
  • Nazo no Tenkōsei ["Mysterious New Student"] (Tokyo: Morimitsu-sha, 1967) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Giyamanto Kikai (Tokyo: PHP, 1967) [nonfiction: coll: binding unknown/]
  • Nagai Nagai Gosui ["The Long, Long Nap"] (Tokyo: San'ichi Shobō, 1968) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Expo '87 (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1968) [binding unknown/]
  • Bankokuhaku ga Yattekuru ["The World's Fair Approaches"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1968) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Tensai wa Tsukurareru ["Genius is Constructed"] (Tokyo: Akimoto Shobō, 1968) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Tekyunitto (Tokyo: San'ichi Shobō, 1968) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Niji wa Kieta ["The Rainbow Vanished"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1969) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Moeru Keisha ["The Burning Slope"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1969) [binding unknown/]
  • Waga Sexoid ["My Sexoid"] (Tokyo: Rippū Shobō, 1969) [binding unknown/]
  • Maboroshi no Penfriend ["Mysterious Penfriend"] (Tokyo: Iwasaki Shoten, 1970) [binding unknown/]
  • Chikyū e no Tōi Michi ["The Distant Road to Earth"] (Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbun, 1970) [binding unknown/]
  • Toki no Odysseus ["Time's Odysseus"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1971) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • C-seki no Kyaku ["Passenger in Seat C"] (Tokyo: Nikkei Shinbun, 1971) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Chacha Young Short Short (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1972) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Jūroku no Jigoku ["Hell of Gravity"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1973) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Karera no Naka no Umi ["The Sea Inside Them"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1973) [binding unknown/]
  • Nejireta Machi ["Twisted Town"] (Tokyo: Subaru Shobo, 1974) [binding unknown/]
  • Ano Shinjū-iro no Asa o ["That Pearl-Coloured Dawn ..."] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1974) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Salon wa Owatta ["The Salon Is Over"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1974) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Boku no Sunadokei ["My Hourglass"] (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1974) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Sangyō Shikan Kōhōsei ["Managerial Cadet"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1974) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • 24-jikan Shinnyūsha ["24-Hour Invader"] (Tokyo: Akimoto Shobō, 1974) [binding unknown/]
  • Kiga Rettō ["Hunger Archipelago"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1974) with Masami Fukushima [binding unknown/]
  • Warunori Ryokō (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1975) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Jigoku no Sainō ["Hellish Talent"] (Tokyo: Akimoto Shoten, 1975) [binding unknown/]
  • Kaerazaru Sora ["The Returning Sky"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1975) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Kimyō-na Tsuma ["Weird Wife"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1975) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Kaerazaru Shiro ["The Returning Castle"] (Tokyo: Ōbunsha, 1975) [binding unknown/]
  • Hen-na Otoko ["Odd Man"] (Tokyo: Bunka Shuppan, 1975) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Nerawareta Gakuen ["School in Peril"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1976) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Detatoko Makase On Air ["Ad Lib On Air"] (Tokyo: Rippū Shobō, 1976) [nonfiction: coll: binding unknown/]
  • Ikyō Henka ["Transformation of a Strange Land"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1976) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Nariyasui Kagidaba ["The Easily Jangled Keys"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1976) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Mōretsu Kyōshi ["Burning Mentor"] (Tokyo: San'ichi Shobō, 1976) [coll: pb/]
  • Kage no Kage ["Shadows of Shadows"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1977) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Omoi Agari no Natsu ["A Summer to Remember"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1977) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Kareta Jikan ["Seasoned Time"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1977) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Ojizasareta Jikanwari ["Opened Time Schedule"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1977) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Naitara Shi ga Kuru ["Death Comes if You Weep"] (Tokyo: Akimoto Shoten, 1977) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Torisugita Yatsu ["The Man Who Went Too Far"] (Tokyo: Rippū Shobō, 1977) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Shinya Hōsō no Happening ["The Happening Late Night Broadcast"] (Tokyo: Akimoto Shoten, 1977) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Shiroi no Kobako ["White Casket"] (Tokyo: Jigyō no Nihonsha, 1977) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Rokumae no Kippu ["Six Tickets"] (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1978) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Shiroi Futōshiki ["White Inequalities"] (Tokyo: Akimoto Shoten, 1978) [binding unknown/]
  • Nubatama no ... ["Darkness's ..."] (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1978) [binding unknown/]
  • Kanata e no Tabi ["Journey into the Distance"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1979) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Oshaberi Meiro ["Maze of Words"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1979) [binding unknown/]
  • Gogo no Gakutai ["Afternoon Orchestra"] (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1979) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Mettsubizarumono ["Sunken Things"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1979) [binding unknown/]
  • Bokutachi no Pocket ["Our Pocket"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1980) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Gekkō no Sasu Basho ["The Place in the Moonlight"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1980) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Tsukurareta Asu ["The Constructed Tomorrow"] (Tokyo: Akimoto Shoten, 1980) [binding unknown/]
  • Terikageri no Fūkei ["Total Eclipse of the View"] (Tokyo: Kosaido, 1981) [nonfiction: coll: binding unknown/]
  • Haruka ni Terase ["Shine in the Distance"] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1981) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Oshaberi Kyakueki Teisha ["Local Train of Chat"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1981) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Maboroshi no Kisetsu ["The Mysterious Seasons"] (Tokyo: Shufu no Tomo-sha, 1981) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Toraerareta Schoolbus/Jikū no Tabibito ["A Schoolbus Snatched/Time Stranger"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1981) [binding unknown/]
  • Nijikai no Ato ["After the Afterparty"] (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1981) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Katabuita Chiheisen ["Inclined Horizon"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1981) [binding unknown/]
  • Pocket no ABC ["A Pocket ABC"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1982) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Pocket no XYZ ["A Pocket XYZ"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1982) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Kiiro Yume, Aoi Yume ["Yellow Dream, Blue Dream"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1982) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Tsukareta Shaintachi ["Tired Workers"] (Tokyo: Jigyō no Nipponsha, 1982) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Nigehime ["Princess in Flight"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1983) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Bukiyō-na Senshitachi ["Useless Warriors"] (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1983) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Futsū no Kazoku ["A Normal Family"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1984) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Kujaku no Machi ["Town of the Peacock"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1984) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Gekkō no Soko ["At the Bottom of a Moonbeam"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1985) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Bokura no Robot Monogatari ["Our Robot Stories"] (Tokyo: Iwasaki Shoten, 1985) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Saigo no Pocket ["The Last Pocket"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1985) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Yūyake no Kaitenmokuba ["Carousel at Sunset"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1986) [binding unknown/]
  • Shinnyū o Soshiseyo ["Stop the Invasion"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1986) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Sorezore no Magarikado ["Each and Every Street Corner"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1986) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Meikyū Monogatari ["Tales of the Labyrinth"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1986) [coll of linked stories: binding unknown/]
  • Shokuba Suki Desu ka? ["Do You Like Your Workplace?"] (Tokyo: Keibunsha, 1987) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Risa no Nikki ["Risa's Diary"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1988) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Tsuyoirareta Henshin ["An Augmented Transformation"'] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1988) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Sugao no Jikan ["Time of the Face"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1988) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Sorezore no Sōgū ["Scattered Encounters"] (Tokyo: Keibunsha, 1988) [binding unknown/]
  • Isekai Bunkiten ["Crossroads of Otherworlds"] (Tokyo: Shin Geijutsusha, 1989) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Konnichiwa Hanako-san ["Hello Hanako"] (Tokyo: Keibunsha, 1989) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Ganbatte Tarō-san ["Keep it up, Taro"] (Tokyo: Keibunsha, 1989) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Eki to Sono Machi ["The Station and its Surroundings"] (Tokyo: Jigyō no Nipponsha, 1989) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Shutchō no Kito ["Returning from a Business Trip"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1990) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Light Grey no Heya ["A Light Grey Room"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1990) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Ayashii Hitobito ["Suspicious People"] (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1992) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Wonder Tea Room (Tokyo: Jigyō no Nipponsha, 1992) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Kawaita Family ["The Dried Family"] (Tokyo: Keibusha, 1992) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Yuruyakana Family ["The Slack Family"] (Tokyo: Keibusha, 1993) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Eki ni Ita Tako ["The Octopus That Was At the Station"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1993) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Niji no Uragawa ["The Other Side of the Rainbow"] (Tokyo: Shuppan Geijutsusha, 1994) [coll: binding unknown/]
  • Ōsaka no Kadono ["The Corners of Osaka"] (Tokyo: Sani'ichi Shobō, 1995) [nonfiction: coll] [binding unknown/]
  • Nichigawari Ichi-hanashi ["A Story A Day"] (Tokyo: Shuppan Geijutsusha, 1998) [coll: in two volumes: binding unknown/]
  • Carthago no Unmei ["The Fate of Carthage"] (Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha, 1998) [fixup: binding unknown/]
  • Tsuma ni Sasageta 1778 Hanashi ["1778 Stories for My Wife"] (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 2004) [binding unknown/nonpictorial]
  • Shizumiyuku Hito: Shi-Fantasy ["A Sunken Man: Self-Fantasy"] (Tokyo: Shuppan Geijutsusha, 2010) [coll: hb/]


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