Author & Translator

Noriko Ogiwara, Author

“Noriko Ogiwara has surely created one of the most significant works in Japanese literature for young people—for young people everywhere, and adults as well…Beyond that, she has set new terms and new possibilities for the whole genre of high fantasy.”

Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007), Newbery Medalist, The High King

荻原先生 Noriko Ogiwara (荻原規子) is a celebrated Japanese novelist.

Born in 1959, Ogiwara began reading translations of C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia at a very early age. Inspired by Lewis’s youthful sense of wonder, Ogiwara became determined to write fantasy novels for the young people of her own country.

Her first book, Sorairo-Magatama (originally published by Fukutake Publishing Co., Ltd., 1988) won wide acclaim as the first truly “Japanese” fantasy. It also earned her the coveted New Writer’s Award from the Japanese Association of Writer for Children and remains a young adult classic in Japan.

Noriko Ogiwara’s other works include Fuujin Hisho (The Tale of the Flute Player, 2005), a recipient of multiple Japanese literary honors; Jujo no Yurikago (On the Tree Top, 2002); Kore wa Okoku no Kagi (This Is the Key to the Kingdom, 1993); and the Nishi no Yoki Majou series of light novels (The Good Witch of the West, 1997), which now spans 8 books and 3 short stories. The Good Witch of the West has been adapted into manga and an anime. The manga has been translated into English by TokyoPop and was released in the United States in October 2006.

Noriko Ogiwara’s personal mission statement was inspired by the words of C.S. Lewis: “Write the book that you most want to read without expecting someone else to do it.”

Cathy Hirano, Translator

“I’ve read several books she has translated and really liked them all, which in my opinion speaks to her own skill as a writer.”

Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist, A Single Shard

Cathy Hirano Cathy Hirano is an award-winning translator of Japanese fiction for young people.

Born and raised in Canada, Ms. Hirano’s favorite books growing up included The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Earthsea, and The Lord of the Rings. She moved to Kyoto, Japan in 1978 as an English teacher and graduated from the International Christian University of Cultural Anthropology in 1983. Ms. Hirano became a freelance translator in 1987.

Ms. Hirano’s translation of Kazumi Yumoto’s Natsu no Niwa (The Friends, 1997) won both the 1997 Batchelder Award for literature in translation and the Boston Globe-Horn Book award for fiction. She discusses the art of Japanese-to-English translation in “Eight Ways to Say You”. Cathy Hirano has also translated the first two volumes of Nahoko Uehashi’s beloved Moribito series for Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine; the first volume, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Seirei no Moribito) was awarded the 2009 Batchelder Award. Hirano has a son and daughter who are her inspiration. She lives on the island of Shikoku in Japan.

On being a translator, Cathy Hirano says: “[T]he attitude of service to humanity and striving for intercultural understanding has inspired me to translate children’s literature for love and for the joy of it. There certainly isn’t much money to be made doing it!”

Read an interview with Cathy from the SWET (The Society of Writers, Editors, & Translators)

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