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Becoming a Professional Writer at 42: The Moment Eiko Kadono, Author of Kiki’s Delivery Service, Found Her Calling

Author of works such as Kiki’s Delivery Service(published by Fukuinkan Shoten) and the Chiisana Obake series(published by Poplar), the latter of which turned 40 this year, Eiko Kadono —1957 alumnus of Waseda University’s School of Education —has created children’s literature beloved by readers of all ages around the world. In part one of this special, we learned about the background behind the creation of Kiki’s Delivery Service, as well as the story’s message. Kadono made her debut as an author at the relatively late age of 35, and the individual that spurred her pursuit as an author was a teacher at Waseda University. We talked to Kadono to learn how motherhood inspired her to become an author and how she found her true calling. (click here for part one)

【#1】Originally, You Didn’t Want to Be a Writer? How a Teacher at Waseda University Changed Her Destiny

【#2】I Don’t Write Because I’m an Author. I Write Because it’s My Calling.

【#3】Living Your Own Life Without Getting Constrained by Society’s Standards



Eiko Kadono

Born in Fukagawa, Tokyo, Kadono graduated from Waseda University’s School of Education in 1957. In 1959, she moved to Brazil, where she lived for two years. She made her writing debut with the non-fiction story Brazil and My Friend Luizinho (published by Poplar), based on her experience in Brazil. In 1985, she published her representative work, Kiki’s Delivery Service (published by Fukuinkan Shoten), for which she won the Noma Prize for Children’s Literature, the Shogakukan Children’s Publication Culture Award, and the IBBY Honor List. The novel has received animated, theatrical, and live-action adaptations in Japan, and in 2016, it received a theatrical adaption in London. She is the author of several other series, including the Chiisana Obake series. She received the Purple Ribbon Medal of Honor in 2000 and the Gold Rays with Rosette medal of the Order of the Rising Sun in 2014. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award.


Interviewer and Writer: Chika Igaya

Born in Tokyo, Igaya completed her master’s at Meiji University’s Graduate School, where she specialized in archaeology. After working as a newspaper reporter and news editor for website Niconico, she helped established the Huffington Post Japan, of which she was the sole domestic reporter. She has been a reporter for Bengo4.com since 2017. She is the author of several books, including Hibi, Kimono ni Kappogi (published by Chikuma Shobo), Tsunagaru Toshokan (published by Chikuma Shinsho), Machi no Mirai wo Kono Te de Tsukuru (published by Gentosha) and coauthor of Naushika no Hikogu, Tsukuttemita (published by Gentosha). In February 2019, she published Sono Joho ha Doko kara? (published by Chikuma Purima Shinsho)

Photography: Hajime Kato

Editor: Kaori Matsumoto

Design: Shinpei Nakaya, PRMO

Interview and Photography Assistance: Garage Bluebell (https://garagebluebell.jimdo.com/

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