Yukiko Motoya

Yukiko Motoya was born in Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan in 1979. After moving to Tokyo to study drama, she started the Motoya Yukiko Theater Company, whose plays she wrote and directed. Her first story, “Eriko to zettai,” appeared in the literary magazine Gunzo in 2002. Motoya won the Noma Prize for New Writers for Warm Poison in 2011; the Kenzaburo Oe Prize for Picnic in the Storm in 2013; the Mishima Yukio Prize for How She Learned to Love Herself in 2014; and Japan’s most prestigious literary prize, the Akutagawa Prize, for An Exotic Marriage in 2016. Her books have been published or are forthcoming in French, Norwegian, Spanish, and Chinese, and her stories have been published in English in Granta, Words Without Borders, Tender, and Catapult.

Latest Book

The Lonesome Bodybuilder

by Yukiko Motoya

The stories are funny and creepy; they have a campfire vibe, a brush of the moonless night . . . The tales boil down to the problem of balancing empathy with self-assertion—of both practicing kindness and expressing your own needs, and all while the people around you are behaving like wraiths or aliens. Motoya’s protagonists feel quietly radical in a literary moment that seems particularly interested in unpacking various forms of narcissism. They treat the importance of others’ inner lives as a given . . . Meanwhile, the reader watches each transformation and stab at connection. She becomes the bulge in the curtain, the shadow on the other side of the glass—the strange one. — Katy Waldman, The New Yorker

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