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Award-winning author Osamu Hashimoto dies of pneumonia

Osamu Hashimoto (Mainichi/Kenji Konoha)

TOKYO -- Author Osamu Hashimoto, known for his wide range of works including the novel series "Momojiri Musume" and modern translations of Japanese classics as well as his distinctive style of social criticism, died of pneumonia on Jan. 29. He was 70.

Hashimoto was born in the capital and graduated from the University of Tokyo. He first drew attention in 1968 over a slogan he wrote for a poster for a campus festival at the university, which was rocked by a wave of student protests at the time.

Hashimoto was thrust into the limelight for his smooth use of teen slang popular among young people in his youth novel "Momojiri Musume" published in 1978, which later became a popular series. The style of expression he used was called "Momojirigo (Momojiri language)" by fans. He used the same style in writing a three-volume modern translation of "Makura no Soshi (The Pillow Book)." The "Momojirigoyaku Makura no Soshi" series published from 1987 to 1995 became a bestseller.

He also wrote modern translations for other Japanese classics, such as "Yohen Genji Monogatari," based on "The Tale of Genji," published from 1991 to 1993. Hashimoto won the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award for "Sojo Heike Monogatari," based on "The Tale of the Heike," published from 1998 to 2007.

Hashimoto received the Noma Literary Prize in 2018 for his long novel "Kusanagi no Tsurugi" in which he depicts the history of the common people of Japan after World War II. He later revealed that he had been repeatedly hospitalized due to cancer and failed to appear for a winner's interview as well as the award ceremony.


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