Fumiko Hayashi (fōō´mē´kō hä´yä´shē), 1903–51, Japanese novelist and short-story writer. The daughter of an itinerant peddlar, Hayashi was raised in abject poverty. After finishing school, she moved to Tokyo to write, barely managing to support herself with a variety of menial jobs. Her first novel, Horoki [journal of wandering] (1928) records her early years of struggle. Subsequent works continued to address with compassion the despair of the poor and downtrodden and the suffering caused by war. Although Hayashi was briefly influenced by proletarian literature, her exploration of themes of social justice is grounded in optimism and a belief in the human will to survive.