Miyabe, Miyuki 1960-

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Miyabe, Miyuki 1960-


Born December 23, 1960, in Tokyo, Japan.


Home—Tokyo, Japan.


Writer. Previously worked in a law office; appeared in the film Yôkai daisensô, 2005.


Japan Mystery Writers Association Prize, 1987, for the short story "Warera no rinjin wa hannin" ("Our Neighbor Is a Criminal"); Best Mystery Novel and Best Novel of the Year, Japan, for All She Was Worth; Yamamoto Shugoro Prize, 1993, for All She Was Worth; Yoshikawa Prize; Naoki Prize, 1998, for the novel Riyû ("The Reason").



Honjo Fukagawa fushigi-zo shi, Shin Jinbutsu Oraisha (Tokyo, Japan), 1991.

Kasha = Kasya, Futabasha (Tokyo, Japan), 1992, translation by Alfred Birnbaum published as All She Was Worth, Kodansha International (New York, NY), 1996.

Shadow Family, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter, Kodansha International (New York, NY), 2005.

Crossfire, translated by Deborah Stuhr Iwabuchi and Anna Husson Isozaki, Kodansha International (New York, NY), 2006.

Author of more than thirty-five novels, including Riyû ("The Reason"). Also author of several short-story collections and long-running serials in Japanese newspapers.


Novels have been adapted for films titled Brave Story, 2006; Riyuu, 2004 (titled The Reason in English); Mohou-han, 2002; (titled Copycat Killer in English); and Kurosufaia, 2000 (based on novels Hatobue-gusa and Crossfire).


Miyuki Miyabe is a Japanese writer who has gained a widespread following for her mystery and crime novels, but also writes in other genres, including science fiction, historical fiction, and juvenile fiction. Although she has written numerous novels, only a few have been translated into English, including All She Was Worth. The novel revolves around a case of identity and credit card theft and involves a search by senior police inspector Shunsuke Honma for his nephew's missing fiancée. It ends up that the missing woman, Shoko Sekine, once declared bankruptcy and has actually taken on the identity of another woman. Before long, Honma suspects that Sekine may have taken more than the woman's identity. Marilyn Stasio, writing in the New York Times Book Review, called All She Was Worth a "deep and moody mystery." A contributor to the Complete Review Web site, commented: "Stealing someone's identity is not a simple matter [in Japan], and much of the fun in the book is in Honma determining how (and why) [Sekine] may have done it."

Shadow Family is a thriller staged primarily in a Tokyo police station interrogation room. During an investigation of the murder of a man and his mistress, two Tokyo policemen discover that the murdered man had another fantasy family for which he served as the role of father via the Internet. When they track down the fantasy family, the police interrogate the fantasy mother, son, and daughter as the murdered man's real daughter observes. Jenny McLarin, writing in Booklist, commented that "the novel offers a fascinating look at the dark side of the Internet." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that Shadow Family is "a clever puzzle whose commentary on the fragility and reinvention of families gives it a special edge." A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted: "The clean, crisp translation is the perfect vehicle for this satisfying read."

In Crossfire, Miyabe's third novel translated into English, the author tells the intertwining stories of an arson detective, Chickako Ishizu, as he conducts a series of investigations that ultimately lead the him to Junko, who has been killing people to avenge a young couple's death. Their paths cross because Junko has pyrokinetic powers that enable her to burn her victims with her mind, leaving nothing more than a pile of ashes. However, innocent bystanders also die, leaving Junko in an ethical dilemma. Hanna Kite, writing in Time International, called Crossfire "a powerful and satisfying mystery." Kite added: "Miyabe details her characters' every thought, no matter how cutthroat or compassionate, as they argue with their families, berate themselves, fall in love and earn a living." Referring to the novel as "provocative," a Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the author "keeps the reader turning the pages right up to the breathtaking climax." Writing in Booklist, Frank Sennett noted that the novel "throws off lots of fun sparks."



Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, February 14, 2005, "Warner Bros. Studios Said Monday It Has Obtained the Global Distribution Rights for Brave Story."

Booklist, January 1, 2005, Jenny McLarin, review of Shadow Family, p. 828; January 1, 2006, Frank Sennett, review of Crossfire, p. 68.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004, review of Shadow Family, p. 1122; January 1, 2006, review of Crossfire, p. 19.

Library Journal, February 15, 2005, Wilda Williams, review of Shadow Family, p. 124; December 1, 2005, Ron Samul, review of Crossfire, p. 107.

New York Times Book Review, February 16, 1997, Marilyn Stasio, review of All She Was Worth; February 6, 2005, Marilyn Stasio, review of Shadow Family.

Publishers Weekly, January 17, 2005, Sally Stanton, "A Japanese Crime Caper," interview with author, p. 37; January 17, 2005, review of Shadow Family, p. 38; November 28, 2005, review of Crossfire, p. 26.

Time International (Asia Edition), February 13, 2006, Hanna Kite, review of Crossfire, p. 49.

World Literature Today, September-December, 2005, Celeste Loughman, review of Shadow Family, p. 86.


Asian Review of Books,http://www.asianreviewofbooks.com/ (May 19, 2005), Paul French, review of Shadow Family; (March 25, 2006), John Walsh, review of Crossfire.

Complete Review,http://www.complete-review.com/ (November 25, 2006), review of All She Was Worth.

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (November 25, 2006), information on film adaptations of author's novels.

Scifan,http://www.scifan.com/writers/ (November 25, 2006), brief profile of author.

SFGate.com,http://www.sfgate.com/ (November 25, 2006), Peter Handel, "Mysteries—Murder and Corruption All Over the Globe," includes review of All She Was Worth. *