Suzuki, Koji 1957-
SUZUKI, Koji 1957-
Born 1957, in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan; married a teacher; children: two. Education: Graduated from Keio University. Hobbies and other interests: French and American literature, science.
Home—Tokyo, Japan. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Vertical, Inc., 257 Park Ave. S., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10010.
Fantasy novel award (Japan), 1990, for Rakuen; Yoshikawa Eiji young writer award (Japan), 1996, for Rasen.
Ring, Kadokawa (Tokyo, Japan), 1991, translation by Robert B. Rohmer and Glynne Walley, Vertical (New York, NY), 2002.
Rasen, Kadokawa (Tokyo, Japan), 1995, translation by Glynne Walley published as Spiral, Vertical (New York, NY), 2004.
Loop, Kadokawa (Tokyo, Japan), 1998.
Birthday, Kadokawa (Tokyo, Japan), 1999.
Also author of Rakuen (title means "Paradise"), 1990, Namida (children's book; title means "Tears"), Kami kami no Promenade (title means "The Gods' Promenade"), and Dark Water. Author of nonfiction, including Fusei no Tanjo, Kazoku no Kizuna, and Papa-ism. Translator into Japanese of The Little Sod Diaries by Simon Brett.
Ring was adapted as the motion picture Ringu, Toho Pictures, 1998, as The Ring, Dreamworks, 2002, as a television mini-series in Japan, and as a motion picture in Korea; Rasen was adapted for film in Japan, 1998.
Koji Suzuki, dubbed the "Stephen King of Japan," is the author of the horror novel Ring, which was the basis for the Japanese film Ringu and its hugely popular American remake The Ring. Suzuki has written three other works in the "Ring" series: Rasen (translated as Spiral), Loop, and Birthday.
Ring launched a horror boom in Japan when it was first published in 1991, though Suzuki, who has also written extensively on the subject of child rearing, seems an unlikely candidate to have created such excitement. "While I've written Ring and a few other horror pieces, I'm really not a fan of horror," he told interviewer Norman England on the Fangoria Web site. Suzuki admitted that the impetus for Ring came to him unexpectedly. "At first, I didn't have the story; I didn't even have the idea," he told England. "I'd started out with four people who were going to share a strange experience, but I was just writing off the top of my head, not knowing where I was going. In my study, I had music playing and sunlight was streaming in from a window. An odd feeling came over me and, looking to the side of my desk, I saw a videotape. That's when it hit me. Why don't I have them watch a video together?"
In 2002 Ring was published in English translation by Vertical. In the work, four Japanese teenagers die under bizarre and mysterious circumstances, prompting an investigation by reporter Kazayuki Asakawa. Asakawa, whose niece was one of the victims, learns that the teens had watched a videotape that may be linked to their deaths. After Asakawa screens the video, which features a series of disturbing, surrealistic images, he receives a chilling warning: whoever views the tape will die in exactly seven days. As Asakawa races to save his life, he unearths the tale of Sadako Yamamura, a missing child believed to possess incredible paranormal ability. "The source of [Sadako's] supernatural power, and its connection to the videotape, has resulted in an increasingly complex story that blends ancient legends and ghost stories with futuristic computer technology," observed John Paul Catton on Metropolis Online. According to Library Journal contributor Wilda Williams, Ring "will keep readers glued to its pages."
Despite the success of Ring and its sequels, Suzuki thinks of himself as much more than an author of horror fiction. As he told England, "I've written on other subjects, with much of my work pertaining to the ocean. I just happened to have written the horror stories successfully."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2003, David Pitt, review of Ring, p. 1649.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2003, review of Ring, p. 427.
Library Journal, April 1, 2003, Wilda Williams, review of Ring, p. 132.
Fangoria Web site,http://www.fangoria.com/ (April 20, 2004), Norman England, "Fearful Feature: Ring Writer."
JapanReview Online,http://japanreview.net/ (April 20, 2004), Yuki Allyson Honjo, "Ringing."
Metropolis Online,http://metropolis.japantoday.com/ (April 20, 2004), John Paul Catton, "Big in Japan: Suzuki Koji."
Ringworld Web site,http://www.theringworld.com/ (April 20, 2004).
Vertical, Inc. Web site,http://www.vertical-inc.com/ (April 20, 2004).*