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Kobayashi Yasumi

(1962-2020) Japanese sf, mystery and horror author, who graduated in engineering from Osaka University, and worked in Communications technology at the Sanyō Electronics Institute of New Materials. His debut as an author, "Kangu Shūrisha" ["Toy Repairer"] (April 1995 Yasei Jidai; title story of coll 1999), concerns Faustian pacts with a sinister woman who will fix any toy, and later any child, for a price. With subtle allusions to the Cthulhu Mythos, it won the Japanese Horror Grand Prix in the short fiction category, and has subsequently been adapted into a Manga, film (2001) and stage play (2004) (see Horror in SF).

His subsequent work often applied Hard SF and Recursive SF approaches to Fantasy, fairy tales and Supernatural Creatures. His acclaimed "Umi o Miru Hito" ["The Man Watching the Sea"] (February 1998 S-F Magazine; title story of coll 2002; trans Anthea Murphy in Speculative Japan 2, anth 2011) retells Rip Van Winkle, or rather the Japanese equivalent Urashima Tarō, in terms of Relativity, as Time Distortion causes a next-day meeting on a beach to be postponed for a century. Significantly more ambitious are his genre refashionings of Religion, Alpha Omega (2001), in which Earth history is a battleground between two disembodied Aliens, and the largely self-explanatory Nephilim Chōkyūketsuki Gensō Tanka ["Phantasia of the Nephilim Super-Vampires"] (2004). Although virtually unknown in English, he is widely translated and read in China, where a translation of "Umi o Miru Hito" won the Hayakawa Award for best short story in 1998. [JonC]

Yasumi Kobayashi

born Tokyo: 7 August 1962

died 23 November 2020




Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls and Graham Sleight.
Accessed 16:16 pm on 6 December 2021.