Osawa, Arimasa 1956–

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Osawa, Arimasa 1956–


Born 1956, in Nagoya, Japan. Education: Attended Keio University.




Mystery Magazine Prize for New Writers/First Detective Fiction Award, 1979, for Kansho no machikado; Eiji Yoshikawa Award and Japan Mystery Writers Association Award, both 1991, both for the "Shinjuku Shark" series; Naoki Award, 1993, for Shinjukuzame: Mugen Ningyo.


Kansho No Machikado (title means "Street Corner of Sentimentality"), 1979.

Shinjuku-zame: Choihen Haido Keiji Shoisetsu Kakioroshi, Koobunsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1990.

Shinjukuzame: Mugen Ningyo, Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1993.

Yamisaki Annainin (title means "Guide into Darkness"), 2001.

Shinjuku Shark, translated by Andrew Clare, Random House (New York, NY), 2007.

Shinjuku Shark 2: The Poison Ape, Random House (New York, NY), 2008.

Also author of over twenty Japanese mystery novels, including Tenshi No Kiba (title means "Angel's Fangs"), Arubaito tantei (title means "Part-Time Investigator"), and Kokorode Wa Omosugiru. Author of a science-fiction series and a comedic series of action books. Author of nine books in the "Shinjuku Shark" series.


Parts of the "Shinjuku Shark" series have been adapted to film in Japan.


Born in 1956 in Nagoya, Japan, Arimasa Osawa attended Keio University before dropping out to pursue a career as a mystery writer. Osawa met almost immediately with success. His first novel, Kansho No Machikado ("Street Corner of Sentimentality"), was published in 1979. The novel earned Osawa the Mystery Magazine Prize for New Writers/First Detective Fiction Award that same year. The story is about a private investigator looking for a girl who has been missing for eleven years. Not only is the book a hard-boiled mystery, it is also sentimental. According to a contributor writing on the Japanese Literature Publishing Project Web site, this combination "became [Osawa's] trademark and the insignia that made him into a bestselling author."

Osawa's Arubaito tantei ("Part-Time Investigator") features a private investigator and the son who works with him. His Tenshi No Kiba ("Angel's Fangs") is a zombie adventure featuring a female detective. According to the Japanese Literature Publishing Project Web site contributor, Osawa is not only the author of mystery books, but also of a science-fiction series and a comedic series of action books. Other books by Osawa also include Yamisaki Annainin ("Guide into Darkness"). Published in 2001, the story revolves around Kuzuhara, who smuggles criminals out of the country. A detective who knows of Kuzuhara's crimes asks the smuggler to find the son of a dictator who has been smuggled into the country, presumably in return for remaining a free man. The Japanese Literature Publishing Project Web site contributor called Yamisaki Annainin "a work of no small merit that … gives one a sense of the author's technical maturity."

Osawa gained international acclaim with the release of his "Shinjuku Shark" series. The first installment was published in English as Shinjuku Shark. The story's protagonist is Detective Samejima. At odds with the police department, he is assigned to the red-light district as a punishment. In fact, the only reason he has not been fired is that he has been blackmailing the force with information that would be publicly damaging to the department. Samejima is attempting to hunt down his nemesis, an illegal gun maker named Kazuo who has been eluding Samejima's grasp for some time. When a number of policemen are murdered, Samejima is torn between his old investigation and an investigation into the policemen's murders. Although Frank Sennett, reviewing Shinjuku Shark in Booklist, felt that the English translation of the story is "stilted," he went on to applaud the story's "rousing potboiler finish." A Publishers Weekly critic felt that the story is so entertaining it "will leave most readers eager for the next book in the series." Other reviewers were also pleased by the novel, including PopCultureShock writer Ken Haley. Haley stated: "All in all Shinjuku Shark is a good and interesting crime novel with a nice pulpy feel to it." He concluded: "I wasn't quite blown away by it in the end, but at the same time I did enjoy it and it definitely has me curious about future installments of the series."

Shinjukuzame: Mugen Ningyo won the prestigious Naoki Award in 1993. In this story, a new designer drug called "ice candy" hits the streets, causing an LSD-like trip for its users. Samejima is on the case, attempting to track down the drug maker, who may be linked to nearby corporations. The story also introduces Samejima's rock-star girlfriend. According to the Japanese Literature Publishing Project Web site contributor, the story's "sophisticated writing style led to the book's overwhelming popularity." The contributor went on to conclude that "the reason Arimasa Osawa has been a success … is because he has achieved the perfect mix of Japaneseness and the American hard-boiled style."



Booklist, October 1, 2002, review of Kokorode Wa Omosugiru, p. 310; June 1, 2007, Frank Sennett, review of Shinjuku Shark, p. 46.

Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2007, review of Shinjuku Shark, p. 38.


Japanese Literature Publishing Project,http://www.jlpp.jp/ (May 26, 2008), profile of Arimasa Osawa.

PopCultureShock,http://www.popcultureshock.com/ (May 26, 2008), Ken Haley, review of Shinjuku Shark.