Famous Japanese Writers

Find out more about the greatest Japanese Writers, including Haruki Murakami, Issei Sagawa, Yukio Mishima, Masaru Emoto and Jiro Horikoshi.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Japanese Writers

 1 Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has authored bestselling works such as Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore, which explore the genres of surrealism and magic realism. He has also translated works by J. D. Salinger and Raymond Carver. He has been named to Time 100 and has won numerous awards.

 2 Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo.
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Famous As: Organizing Expert
Birthdate: October 9, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tokyo

Japanese organizing expert Marie Kondo gained fame with her bestselling books on organizing, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which have been translated into languages such as Italian, Korean, French, and German. She also earned an Emmy nomination for her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

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 3 Ayako Fujitani

Ayako Fujitani.
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Famous As: Actor, Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: December 7, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ōsaka, Japan

Daughter of Hollywood actor Steven Seagal and Japanese aikido specialist Miyako Fujitani, Ayako Fujitani appeared as a lead actor in Man from Reno. A skilled writer, she has also released several books, both fiction and non-fiction. She has also directed a short play and performed as part of a band.

 4 Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka.
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Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Mangaka, Animator, Physician, Writer, Designer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toyonaka
Died: February 9, 1989

Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator, and film director. He revolutionized the manga genre in Japan and was lovingly called  "the Godfather of Manga". A prolific artist, he created works for both children and adult-oriented projects. He was the recipient of several awards, including the Winsor McCay Award and the Japan Cartoonists Association Award. 

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 5 Antonio Inoki

Antonio Inoki.
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Famous As: Politician, Professional wrestler, Writer, Actor
Birthdate: February 20, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yokohama

Once a reputed Japanese martial artist and wrestler, Antonio Inoki grew up in Brazil, where he won several contests of shot put, discus, and javelin. At 17, he went to the Japanese Wrestling Association and was mentored by Rikidōzan. He later established the New Japan Pro Wrestling.

 6 Osamu Dazai

Osamu Dazai.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 19, 1909
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kanagi, Aomori, Goshogawara, Aomori Prefecture, Japan
Died: June 13, 1948

Osamu Dazai was a Japanese author widely regarded as one of the leading writers of fiction of 20th-century Japan. Most of his popular works, such as No Longer Human and The Setting Sun, are regarded as modern-day classics in Japan. Several years after his death, Osamu Dazai continues to be celebrated in Japan, although he is relatively unknown elsewhere.

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 7 Masaru Emoto

Masaru Emoto
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Famous As: Essayist, Writer
Birthdate: July 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yokohama
Died: October 17, 2014

Masaru Emoto was a Japanese author, businessman, and pseudo-scientist. He is best remembered for his New York Times bestseller book The Hidden Messages in Water in which he claimed that thought can influence the molecular structure of water. He also served as the president emeritus of a non-profit organization called International Water For Life Foundation.

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 8 Ayumi Hamasaki

Ayumi Hamasaki
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Famous As: Singer, Seiyū, Songwriter, Model, Actor, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Lyricist, Poet, Record producer
Birthdate: October 2, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fukuoka

Japanese pop icon Ayumi Hamasaki had started a TV career after moving to Tokyo at 14. She later gained fame with her dance hits and ballads. Also known for her dramatic costumes and videos, The Empress of J-pop has been rendered totally deaf in one ear, owing to a ear infection.

 9 Saigo Takamori

Saigo Takamori
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Famous As: Samurai, Poet
Birthdate: January 23, 1828
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kagoshima
Died: September 24, 1877

Saigo Takamori was a samurai and he is considered as one of the most influential samurais in Japanese history. He was one of the three great nobles who led the Meiji Restoration. Saigo Takamori lived during the late Edo and early Meiji periods and led the imperial forces at the Battle of Toba–Fushimi. He was dubbed "the true last Samurai" after his death. 

 10 Sessue Hayakawa

Sessue Hayakawa
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Famous As: Actor, Novelist, Screenwriter, Film director
Birthdate: June 10, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chiba
Died: November 23, 1973

Sessue Hayakawa was a Japanese actor who became a popular Hollywood star during the silent film era. He was the first Asian actor to achieve stardom in Europe and the United States of America. Renowned for portraying sexually dominant villains, Sessue Hayakawa became a heartthrob among American women; he was also one of Hollywood's first male sex symbols.

 11 Jiro Horikoshi

Jiro Horikoshi
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Famous As: Aerospace engineer, Engineer
Birthdate: June 22, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fujioka
Died: January 11, 1982

Jiro Horikoshi was a Japanese engineer who played an important role during the Second World War, serving as the chief engineer of several Japanese fighter aircraft, including the famous Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Jiro Horikoshi's life and career inspired a fictionalized biographical animated film titled The Wind Rises which was directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

 12 Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima.
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: January 14, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yotsuya, Tokyo
Died: November 25, 1970

Japanese author, poet, and playwright Yukio Mishima is counted amongst the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. His best-known works feature a fusion of traditional Japanese and modern Western literary styles. He was the founder of the Tatenokai, an unarmed private militia dedicated to traditional Japanese values. He was considered controversial due to his political activities. 

 13 Basho

Basho.
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1644 AD
Birthplace: Ueno, Mie
Died: November 28, 1694

Basho was a Japanese poet of the Edo period. Regarded as the greatest master of haiku, Basho's poetry is read all over the world; many of his works have been translated into English. Such is his popularity that in 1979 a crater on planet Mercury was named after him by the International Astronomical Union.

 14 Tsugumi Ohba

Tsugumi Ohba
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Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Tsugumi Ohba is a Japanese writer best known for writing the popular manga series Death Note. Ohba, whose real identity is a well-guarded secret, is also known for writing other successful manga series like Bakuman and Platinum End. In 2008, Tsugumi Ohba was honored with the prestigious Eagle Award under Favourite Manga category for Death Note.

 15 Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: January 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Adachi, Tokyo, Japan

Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese comedian, TV presenter, author, actor, and filmmaker. He gained international fame in the 1970s as one half of the comedy duo Two Beat. He later pursued a solo act and became one of the top comedians in Japan. He then ventured into acting and direction as well. He won the Golden Lion award in 1997.   

 16 Hironobu Sakaguchi

Hironobu Sakaguchi
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Famous As: Game designer
Birthdate: November 25, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan

Hironobu Sakaguchi is a Japanese writer, video game designer, producer, and director. Sakaguchi is credited with creating the popular anthology science fantasy media franchise Final Fantasy. He is also credited with selling more than 100 million units of video games worldwide. In 2004, Sakaguchi founded an independent video game development studio named Mistwalker Corporation.

 17 Yasunari Kawabata

Yasunari Kawabata
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 11, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Osaka
Died: April 16, 1972

Yasunari Kawabata was a Japanese short story writer and novelist whose subtly-shaded prose works earned him the 1968 Nobel Prize for Literature, making him the first Japanese writer to receive the prestigious award. Yasunari Kawabata played a major role in the translation of Japanese literature into several Western languages including English. His works are still read all over the world. 

 18 Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Ryunosuke Akutagawa
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 1, 1892
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kyōbashi-ku,Tokyo, Japan
Died: July 24, 1927

Ryunosuke Akutagawa was a Japanese writer best remembered for writing more than 150 short stories including In a Grove which inspired the 1950 film Rashōmon. Considered the father of the Japanese short story, Ryunosuke Akutagawa's brief career helped inspire his friend Kan Kikuchi to create Akutagawa Prize, a literary award for new writers, which is named in his honor.

 19 Soseki Natsume

Soseki Natsume
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 9, 1867
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ushigome, Chiba, Japan
Died: December 9, 1916

Soseki Natsume was a Japanese novelist best remembered for his novels Botchan, Kusamakura, Kokoro, and I Am a Cat. He is credited with influencing other popular writers like Kume Masao and Akutagawa Ryūnosuke. Natsume's works have caught the attention of global readers in the 21st century; since 2001 his books have been translated into 10 languages, including English and Dutch.

 20 Murasaki Shikibu

Murasaki Shikibu.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: 0973 AD
Birthplace: Kyoto
Died: 1014 AD

Murasaki Shikibu was a Japanese poet and novelist. She is credited with authoring one of the world's first novels, The Tale of Genji. Murasaki's works played a key role in establishing Japanese as a written language and she continues to influence Japanese writers. Over the years, she has also been a popular subject of illustrations and paintings in Japan.

 21 Mamoru Oshii

Mamoru Oshii
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Mangaka, Television director, Novelist, Writer, Playwright
Birthdate: August 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ōta-ku

Mamoru Oshii is a Japanese writer, filmmaker, and television director. Renowned for incorporating philosophical values into his storytelling, Oshii's style of filmmaking has attracted praise from other popular directors like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. Over the years Mamoru Oshii has received nominations for several prestigious awards like the Golden Lion and Palme d'Or.

 22 Megumi Yokota

Megumi Yokota
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 5, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Niigata Prefecture, Japan
Died: November 15, 1977

Megumi Yokota is a Japanese woman who was among at least 17 Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. Yokota was kidnapped by a North Korean agent in 1977. Yokota has been missing for more than 43 years and several Japanese citizens have waged a campaign seeking her return. However, the North Korean government has claimed that she died in captivity.

 23 Mas Oyama

Mas Oyama
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Famous As: Karateka
Birthdate: June 4, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gimje, Zenra-hoku Prefecture, Korea
Died: April 26, 1994

 24 Kenzaburō Ōe

Kenzaburō Ōe
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Uchiko, Ehime Prefecture, Japan

Kenzaburō Ōe is a Japanese writer whose essays, short stories, and novels deal with social, philosophical, and political issues such as nuclear power, nuclear weapons, existentialism, and social non-conformism. An influential personality in contemporary Japanese literature, Kenzaburō Ōe was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1994 for his works.

 25 Shinichi Mochizuki

Shinichi Mochizuki
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Famous As: mathematician
Birthdate: March 29, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tokyo

 26 Edogawa Ranpo

Edogawa Ranpo
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: October 21, 1894
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nabari
Died: July 28, 1965

Edogawa Ranpo was a Japanese author who played an important role in the progression of Japanese mystery fiction. Ranpo is credited with creating the popular fictional private detective Kogoro Akechi who appears in many of his novels. A number of Ranpo's works have been adapted into films and series. The 1999 film Gemini was inspired by one of Ranpo's stories.

 27 Daisaku Ikeda

Daisaku Ikeda
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Famous As: Poet, Writer
Birthdate: January 2, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ōta-ku

 28 Fukuzawa Yukichi

Fukuzawa Yukichi
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Famous As: Writer, Teacher, Educationist, Philosopher, University teacher, Critic, Journalist
Birthdate: January 10, 1835
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ōsaka
Died: February 3, 1901

 29 Shūsaku Endō

Shūsaku Endō
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Famous As: Japanese author
Birthdate: March 27, 1923
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: September 29, 1996

 30 Mineko Iwasaki

Mineko Iwasaki
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Famous As: Autobiographer, Geisha
Birthdate: November 2, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kyoto

 31 Tanizaki Jun'ichirō

Tanizaki Jun'ichirō
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 24, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: July 30, 1965

Tanizaki Jun'ichirō was a Japanese author whose works made him a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964. Widely regarded as one of the most important personalities in modern Japanese literature, Tanizaki's work ranges from the depictions of erotic obsessions to the dynamics of family life in 20th-century Japan. Many of his works have been adapted into films.

 32 Kōbō Abe

Kōbō Abe.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 7, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kita, Tokyo, Japan
Died: January 22, 1993

Japanese surrealist author Kōbō Abe is remembered for his Kafka-esque style and his bestselling novels such as The Woman in the Dunes. Though he studied medicine, pushed into it by his physician father, he never practiced. The Akutagawa Prize winner was also initially a communist but was later expelled.

 33 Ai Iijima

Ai Iijima
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Famous As: Adult Film Star, AV idol, Seiyū, Tarento, Glamor model
Birthdate: October 31, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kōtō-ku
Died: December 24, 2008

Ai Iijima was a Japanese writer, media personality, actress, and activist. She is best remembered for appearing in a softcore porn variety TV show titled Gilgamesh Night. After ending her career as a softcore porn actress, Iijima became associated with campaigns that aimed at educating people about HIV/AIDS.

 34 Reki Kawahara

Reki Kawahara
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Famous As: writer, novelist, seiyū, science fiction writer
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Takasaki

Reki Kawahara is a Japanese author best known for writing Japanese light novel series, such as Accel World and Sword Art Online. Both the series have been adapted into anime and the Sword Art Online series has been adapted into an animated adventure film titled Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale. Kawahara is also credited with writing The Isolator.

 35 Dogen

Dogen
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 19, 1200
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Died: September 22, 1253

 36 Banana Yoshimoto

Banana Yoshimoto
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 24, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bunkyō-ku

Banana Yoshimoto is a Japanese writer whose debut work Kitchen inspired a couple of film adaptations. Kitchen also earned her the sixth Kaien Newcomers' Literary Prize in 1987. The following year, she received the 16th Izumi Kyōka Prize for Literature for a novella titled Moonlight Shadow. Her 1989 novel Goodbye Tsugumi inspired the 1990 movie Tugumi.

 37 Hiro Mizushima

Hiro Mizushima
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Famous As: Actor, Writer, Film actor, Model
Birthdate: April 13, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tokyo

 38 Shigeru Mizuki

Shigeru Mizuki
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Famous As: Mangaka, Writer, Lyricist
Birthdate: March 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ōsaka
Died: November 30, 2015

 39 Masako Natsume

Masako Natsume
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Famous As: Actor, Model, Poet
Birthdate: December 17, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tokyo
Died: September 11, 1985

Masako Natsume was a Japanese actress who achieved worldwide fame after playing Tripitaka in the popular Japanese television series Monkey. Throughout her brief career, Natsume won several awards like the Elan d'or Awards. Masako Natsume remains a household name in Japan; calendars and picture books featuring pictures of Masako Natsume are still popular today.

 40 Akiyuki Nosaka

Akiyuki Nosaka
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Famous As: Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Singer, Lyricist, Tarento, Broadcast writer
Birthdate: October 10, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kamakura
Died: December 9, 2015

Akiyuki Nosaka was a Japanese novelist, lyricist, and singer. He is best remembered for his children's stories about wars. In 1967, two of his stories namely American Hijiki and Grave of the Fireflies won the prestigious Naoki Prize. Many of his works, including his novel, The Pornographers, and short story, Grave of the Fireflies, have been adapted into films.

 41 Kenji Miyazawa

Kenji Miyazawa
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Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Writer, Teacher, Esperantist, Agronomist, Children's writer
Birthdate: August 27, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hanamaki
Died: September 21, 1933
Japanese novelist Kenji Miyazawa was also a poet of children's literature and is one of Japan's most-read and best-loved authors. Some of his major works include Night on the Galactic Railroad, Kaze no Matasaburō, Gauche the Cellist, and The Night of Taneyamagahara.  Many of his children's stories have inspired anime, most notably Night on the Galactic Railroad.

 42 Kentaro Yabuki

Kentaro Yabuki
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Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: February 4, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kōchi
Japanese manga artist, Kentaro Yabuki, is best known for his series Black Cat. He is also known for illustrating To Love Ru and To Love Ru Darkness with author Saki Hasemi. In 2010, he made a manga adaptation of Tomohiro Matsu's light novel series Mayoi Neko Overrun!. Currently, Kentaro Yabuki writes and illustrates the series Ayakashi Triangle

 43 Seijun Suzuki

Seijun Suzuki
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Famous As: Film director, Television director, Actor, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 24, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nihonbashi
Died: February 13, 2017

 44 Takashi Shimizu

Takashi Shimizu
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Famous As: Film producer, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: July 27, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Maebashi

 45 Sei Shōnagon

Sei Shōnagon
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 0966 AD
Birthplace: Tohoku Region, Japan
Died: 1025 AD

 46 Juzo Itami

Juzo Itami
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Died: December 20, 1997

 47 Ōkawa Shūmei

Ōkawa Shūmei
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 6, 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yamagata, Japan
Died: December 24, 1957

 48 Kazushige Nojima

Kazushige Nojima
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: January 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sapporo

 49 Hajime Sorayama

Hajime Sorayama
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Famous As: Artist, Illustrator, Painter
Birthdate: February 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Imabari

Japanese illustrator and artist Hajime Sorayama is best known for his innovative creations, such as life-size eroticized robots. While he was initially interested in Greek and English literature, his love for drawing sexualized characters took over later. He has also designed album covers for Aerosmith and worked on Sony’s AIBO.

 50 Shintaro Ishihara

Shintaro Ishihara
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 30, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Suma-ku, Kobe, Japan

Apart from serving as the governor of Tokyo, Japanese right-wing politician Shintaro Ishihara has also been an accomplished writer. He wrote the Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Season of the Sun when he was still in school and later contributed to various plays and screenplays, too.