The Woman in the Dunes is a novel crafted by Japanese writer and playwright Koko Abe and published in 1962. It is the story of a teacher interested in insects who went in search of a rare instance of the Spanish fly. Stumbling on a remote village, he accepts the villagers' offer to spend the night in the house of a lonely woman. He descends by a rope ladder into the woman's pit, at the bottom of which the house is located. The next morning, he discovers that there is no rope ladder. Being locked in a hole with a single woman, he rediscovers many aspects of his life and comes to see his existence in a new manner.
The novel won Yomiuri Prize in the year it appeared and two years later, in 1964, the novel was adapted into the film of the same title, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara and starring Eiji Okada. In 1964 the film won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and in 1965 was nominated for an Oscar in the category of “The best film in a foreign language”. Both novel and film were warmly received by both audiences and critics.