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Kawamata Chiaki

(1948-    ) Japanese author whose debut work "Shita" ["Tongue"] (January 1972 NW-SF) was published while he was still working as a copywriter at the Advertising agency Hakuhodo. In the same year, he began writing SF criticism with "Ashita wa Docchi da!" ["Which Way is Tomorrow?"], which ran until 1975 in S-F Magazine and was subsequently collated in Yume no Kotoba, Kotoba no Yume ["Words of Dreams, Dreams of Words"] (nonfiction coll 1983). He became a full-time writer from 1980, with occasional ventures into teaching as a lecturer in Fantasy Literature at Ikebukuro Community College and Shukutoku University.

Other notable works include the sequence beginning with Kaseijintachi no Zenya ["Eve of the Martians"] (July 1979 S-F Magazine; fixup as Kaseijin Senshi 1984), in which Uplift causes the extinction of the Terran kangaroo, but also creates the first of a new race on Mars. It won Kawamata a Seiun Award. In other media, his best-known work is the Ajin Senshi ["Bastard Warrior"] series, in which a half-breed child of human and Alien parents becomes the last hope of Earth against the Manjidara Galactic Empire. The first book in the series was adapted into the Anime Ajin Senshi (1990), directed by Tsuneo Tominaga. Kawamata would also adapt anime in the opposite direction, writing the novel Tie to Arion (1986). He is also credited as the storyliner of Dragon Quest Retsuden: Roto no Monshō ["Dragon Quest Biography: Emblem of Roto"] (graph September 1991-July 1997 Shōnen Gangan) a Manga Tie to the Dragon Quest series of computer games. However, Kawamata's precise level of involvement in the project, written by Junji Koyanagi and drawn by Kamui Fujiwara, is unclear.

Another Tie of note is Young Indy Jones: Shōen no Shi ["Young Indiana Jones and the Gunpowder Poem"] (1993), set during World War One, in which the hero of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) recalls his youthful encounter with Siegfried Sassoon at the Battle of the Somme (see George Lucas). Since the 1980s, Kawamata's career has drifted ever deeper into the realm of military fiction (works not listed here, but see link below), particularly concerning World War Two events such as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the war in the South Pacific. This strand of his knowledge also spun off into a factual work Jūni Senkan Monogatari ["Stories of Twelve Battleships"] (nonfiction 1998). While much of Kawamata's genre output translated modern warfare into interstellar conflict (see Military SF), some of his work demonstrates a far deeper concern. In particular, Genshi-gari ["Poetic Vision Hunting"] (1984; trans by Thomas Lamarre and Kazuko Y Behrens as Death Sentences 2012) mounts a powerful defence of the power of the written word to change the world. Its protagonist, a murderous thought-control officer in a totalitarian state, is disturbed and ultimately transformed by an encounter with surrealist literature (see Absurdist SF; Fahrenheit 451). [JonC]

see also: Michiaki Satō.

Chiaki Kawamata

born Otaru, Japan: 4 December 1948

works (selected)


Ajin Senshi


individual titles




Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 01:50 am on 20 August 2022.