Naoya Shiga was born in Ishinomaki in 1883. His father was a banker and his grandfather a former samurai. The family went to live with his paternal grandparents in Tokyo when he was three and his mother died when he was thirteen. His father remarried and relations between father and son were not good. Shiga was influenced by the Christian educator Kanzō Uchimura though he did not become a Christian. He took up social causes, including opposing a copper mine, which was polluting a river. The mine was part-owned by his father’s bank. He had an affair with a family maid and planned to marry her but this was stopped and the maid sacked. This became the topic of his first book. He went to Tokyo Imperial University but did not graduate. His literary career started with a hand-written magazine at school. However, when he published his story about the affair with the maid, he had to leave the family home. He went on to write many successful novellas and stories, often in the I-novel style, though often interrupted by long periods of inactivity. He died in 1971.
(Only works translated into English)
1938 暗夜行路 (A Dark Night’s Passing)
1987 The Paper Door and Other Stories