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Ogawa Issui

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1975-    ) Pseudonymous Japanese author – real name unknown – whose early work was published as by Tomonori Kawade, commencing with "Little Star" (1994 Jump Novel), an account of life in the solar system in the twenty-second century. He dropped out of university in the year he first published under his new pen name, with Earth Guard (1997).

Much of his early work is in the ephemeral pulps known in Japanese as Light Novels: more accurately book-form novellas, often so terse and dialogue-heavy as to read more like film scripts, and requiring two or more volumes to reach true novel length. Ogawa's largely forgettable first books often attach Rockets and blithe Satire to everyday situations, such as Kochira Yūseishō Tokuhaika ["This is the Postal Ministry Special Dividend Section"] (1999), which posits a Japan offering a premium postal delivery service by sports car. He also contributed to Yoshiki Tanaka's Shared World series Seven Cities, as one of the authors of Gibraltar Kōbōsen ["Battle of Gibraltar"] (2005).

By the turn of the century, Ogawa was clearly struggling within the confines of hackwork. He stretched the Light Novel format to breaking point with Michibiki no Hoshi ["Guiding Star"] (2002-2003 4vols). which outlines a mission to colonize an ocean planet (see Colonization of Other Worlds). His US publishers sensibly ignored his juvenilia, instead releasing his more mature works of the twenty-first century. Dairoku Tairiku (2003; vt The Next Continent 2010) is a gritty account of Japanese attempts to repurpose a Chinese moonbase for tourism, which won the Seiun Award for Best Novel in 2004. The Time Travel novel Toki Suna no Ō (2007, vt Lord of the Sands of Time, 2009) is redolent of both the Terminator films and the Xeelee Sequence of Stephen Baxter, with an AI protagonist who jumps into the past in order to prepare humanity for a rematch against the aliens who will otherwise annihilate the Earth in the twenty-sixth century. He and agents like him do so in the full knowledge that their actions will wipe out their own timeline, but is the only workable way to prevent the End of the World.

Taking its name from that of the troubled space colony (see Space Habitats) where the opening action takes place, Many Many Sheep (2009) was the first of a multi-volume series Tenmei no Shirube ["Signpost to the Stars"], an out-of-order Future History that won another Seiun Award for Ogawa with the publication of its final segment, Aoba yo, Yutakanare ["Green Leaves, Get Rich"] (2018-2019 3vols). Adaptations of Ogawa's work into other media include a ten-part Japanese Radio version of Icarus no Tanjōbi (2006 NHK-FM) and Manga adaptations of Dairoku Tairiku by Terawara Kichijō (December 2008 Flex Comic Next) and of Fukkatsu no Chi by Tatsu Mizugi (July 2009 Comic Flapper). "Tadayotta Otoko" ["Drifting Man"] from his collection Rō Vár no Wakusei (2005) won the Seiun Award for Best Short Story in 2006. [JonC]

"Issui Ogawa"

born Gifu Prefecture, Japan: 1975

works as by Tomonori Kawade

  • Mazu Ippō Popular Press Yori ["First, A Letter From Popular Palace"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1996, 1998) [published in two volumes: conclusion never republished in book form after its first magazine appearance (1998 Jump Novel): pb/Hiroyuki Kawashima]

works as by Issui Ogawa


Tenmei no Shirube ["Sign of Darkening Sky"]

  • Many Many Sheep (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2009) [2vols: Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Kyūseigun ["Salvation Group"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2010) [Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Aureria Tō ["Aureria Series"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2010) [Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Kikaijikake no Shosokutachi ["Mechanical Sons"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2011) [Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Hitsuji to Saru to Hyakukiku no Ginga ["A Galaxy of Sheep and Monkeys and Many Small Quantities"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2011) [Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Shukuen ["Tavern Grudge"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2012) [published in two volumes: Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Shinsekai Herb C ["New World Herb C"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2013) [Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Giant Ark (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2014) [2 volumes: Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Hito de aru Hito to nai Hito to ["With a Person Who Both Is and Isn't a Person"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2015-2016) [published in two volumes: Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]
  • Aoba yo, Yutakanare ["Green Leaves, Get Rich"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Bunko, 2018-2019) [published in three volumes: Tenmei no Shirube: pb/]

individual titles


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