Jakucho Setouchi
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Jakucho Setouchi
Jakucho Setouchi
Setouchi Jakucho.png
Born (1922-05-15) 15 May 1922 (age 99)
Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan
Notable worksKashin, Natsu no Owari, Hana ni Toe

Jakucho Setouchi ( , Setouchi Jakuch?, born May 15, 1922), formerly Harumi Setouchi ( , Setouchi Harumi),[1] is a Buddhist nun, writer, and activist.[2][3] Setouchi is noted for her biographical novels written as first-person narratives.[4] She won the 2006 International Nonino Prize in Italy.[5]

Early career

Setouchi was born in Tokushima, Tokushima Prefecture to a family that dealt in the sale of religious goods.[3] She attended Tokyo Woman's Christian University and graduated with a degree in Japanese literature. Setouchi married a foreign exchange student sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Beijing. She returned to Japan in 1946 with her daughter.[6] After a love affair with one of her husband's students, she left her house and got an official divorce before leaving for T?ky? and in order to pursue a writing career.

Setouchi's first literary award reception for Kashin was criticized as pornography. Upon being awarded the Women's Literary Prize in 1963 for Natsu no Owari, she proved herself as a writer.[3] She has also received one of Japan's more prestigious literary awards, the Tanizaki Prize for her novel Hana ni Toe in 1992.[6]


In 1973 she took vows and became a Buddhist nun in the Tendai school of Buddhism. In 2007 she was installed as a nun at Ch?son-ji, a temple in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, and received her name Jakuch?.[3] Her name means "silent, lonely listening."[2] At this time Setouchi also became a social activist, built a center for women, and became a spiritual advisor.[7] She is noted for her opposition to the death penalty in Japan.

The Tale of Genji

Setouchi's vernacular translation of The Tale of Genji from Classical Japanese was published in ten volumes in 1998. The translation used a contemporary voice of the Japanese language and emphasized the heroines of The Tale of Genji over its main character, Genji.[8] The novel was a best seller, and sold more than 2.1 million volumes.[6][9]


  • Joshidaisei Chu Airin (1957) Qu Ailing the Coed - received the Shinchosha Coterie Magazine Award
  • Miren (1963) Lingering Affections
  • Kiji (1963) Pheasant translated by Robert Huey in ISBN 978-4-77002-976-8
  • Beauty in Disarray translated by Sanford Goldstein and Kazuji Ninomiya ISBN 978-0-80483-322-6
  • Natsu no owari (1963?) The End of Summer translated by Janine Beichman ISBN 978-4-77001-746-8. A collection of linked stories detailing her own adulterous affair.
  • Hana ni toe (1992?) Ask the Blossoms, a novelized biography of the classical poet-priest, Saigyo.
  • Basho (2001) Places

Later career

Setouchi served as president of Tsuruga College in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, from 1988 to 1992.[6] She received the Japanese Order of Culture in 2006.[6]



  1. ^ Mulhern, Chieko Irie (1994). Japanese Women Writers: A Bio-critical Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 345. ISBN 9780313254864.
  2. ^ a b Harding, Christopher. Couched In Kindness: "Jakucho Setouchi: a revered nun and famous novelist " Aeon Magazine. .
  3. ^ a b c d e f " " [Jakucho Setouchi]. Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .
  4. ^ " " [Jakucho Setouchi]. Dijitaru Daijisen (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .
  5. ^ https://premio.grappanonino.it/en/winner/harumi-setouchi/
  6. ^ a b c d e f " " [Jakucho Setouchi]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 153301537. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Watanabe, Kazuko (1986). "Writing as political strategy: Asian women's writing". Feminist Issues. Springer-Verlag. 6 (2): 41-52. doi:10.1007/BF02685642. S2CID 143470431.
  8. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (May 28, 1999). "The Nun's Best Seller: 1,000-Year-Old Love Story". The New York Times. New York, N.Y. p. 4.
  9. ^ Walker, James. Big in Japan: "Jakucho Setouchi: Nun re-writes The Tale of Genji," Archived 2009-04-26 at the Wayback Machine Metropolis. No. 324.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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