- Nahoko UehashiJapan ⋆ Author
Born in Tokyo in 1962, Nahoko Uehashi attended Rikkyo University where she earned a doctorate in anthropology; her dissertation was on Australian Aborigines. Today, aside from being a prominent author of juvenile literature, Uehashi is a professor of ethnology at Kawamura Gakuen Women's University. Her first novel, a fantasy titled Seirei no ki [The Sacred Tree], was published in 1989. She earned the JAWC New Talent Award for her second novel, Tsuki no mori ni, kami yo nemure [O God, Sleep Ye in the Forest of the Moon], in 1991. Uehashi is most famous for her Guardian series, which has sold nearly two million copies in Japan. Beginning in 1996 with Seirei no moribito [Guardian of the Sacred Spirit]—which won the Noma Children's Literature Award and the Sankei Children's Culture and Publishing Award—the series has been adapted into an anime television series, a manga, and a radio drama. In 2008, Scholastic Press published Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit in English, and it was awarded the Mildred L. Batchelder Award. Its sequel, Moribito II: Guardian of the Dark, came out in the summer of 2009, and the fifth book in the series made the IBBY Honor List in 2004. The Guardian series has also been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese. Her newest fantasy series, beginning with Kemono no soja [The Beast Player] is being translated into English, German, Korean, Thai, French, Taiwanese, and Swedish. The same series has also been adapted into a manga in 2008 and an anime in 2009.
As a writer of fantasy, Uehashi offers her young readers new worlds born of her seemingly boundless imagination; these worlds, however, provide children relevant ways to think about their own world as Uehashi constructs protagonists who fight for survival, or explore the dualisms of their own psyches, or consider all aspects of their interpersonal relationships.