Banana Yoshimoto, 1964 - Novelist Banana Yoshimoto was born Mahoko Yoshimoto on July 24, 1964 in Tokyo, Japan. She is the daughter of poet and commentator Yoshimoto Ryumei, who had an impact on the radical student movement of the late 1960's. She attended Tokyo's Nihon University, where she studied creative writing and won a faculty award for her 1987 graduation novel "Moonlight Shadow." While working as a waitress, she took moments out of her day to write a novel and, at the age of 24, the result was "Kitchen" (1988), which is the story of a lonely woman who moves her bed into the kitchen, finding comfort in the humming of the refrigerator. She also wrote "Pineapple Pudding" and "Fruit Basket," which were both bestsellers. Her novel "Lizard" was dedicated to the memory of the late rocker Kurt Cobain and the novel "Long Night of Marika/Bali Dream Diary" (1996) was considered a flop.
Ann Sherif is professor of Japanese language and literature at Oberlin College. Her publications include Mirror: The Fictionand Essays of Koda Aya.