Biography of Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro, born in Japan and now a British citizen, won the Man Booker Prize in 1989 for his acclaimed novel The Remains of the Day. Ishiguro was born on November 8, 1954, and he currently resides in London with his wife and daughter.

Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, before moving to England in 1960 when his father took a position at the National Institute of Oceanography. At the age of six, Ishiguro enrolled in the grammar school for boys in Surrey. Later, he obtained his B.A. from the University of Kent in 1978, and subsequently his Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Among the odd jobs that Ishiguro held between his years of education, he was employed as a community worker in Glasgow, a social worker in London, and even as a grouse-beater for the Queen Mother at Blamoral, where he likely learned many of the facets of aristocratic life he'd bring to his 1989 masterpiece. Because of his writing prowess, however, Ishiguro came under the mentorship of famed writer Angela Carter, and then began writing full-time in 1982.

In 1981, Ishiguro published a collection of short stories, followed in 1982 by his first novel, A Pale View of Hills, about a Japanese widow in England who reflects on the destruction of Nagasaki in WWII. Ishiguro's second novel, An Artist of the Floating World, also explored Japanese reactions to World War II through a first-person narrator, in this case a Japanese artist.

What Ishiguro's novels share in common are first-person narrators who exhibit frailties or flaws that are revealed in their reminiscing or account of events. His novels are at once character studies and moral inventories that serve to illuminate the context of given political events. In the course of a story, then, we see not only a character struggling with their own feelings in reaction to interpersonal situations, but also a broader political environment.

The Remains of the Day, his third novel, was published in 1989 and won the Booker Prize, and was also adapted into an acclaimed film as well as a radio broadcast on the BBC. Ishiguro followed up The Remains of the Day with The Unconsoled in 1995, which is about a concert pianist, and later with When We Were Orphans in 2000, which is about a private detective in Shanghai investigating his parents' disappearance. In 2005, he published Never Let Me Go, and even dabbled in screenplays, writing the full-length film The Saddest Music in the World, directed by Guy Maddin and starring Isabella Rossellini.

Study Guides on Works by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant is a fantasy novel written by Kazuo Ishiguro and was published by Faber&Faber publishing company in 2015. This is the seventh of Ishiguro’s works and has also been distributed in the USA via Random House publishers.

The novel...

Published in 1983, A Family Supper is a short story by author Kazuo Ishiguro. The story revolves around a Japanese family that sits down together in Tokyo for dinner to discuss their lives. The main character, who is left unnamed, was living in...

Remains of the Day, published in 1989 is the third novel by Kazuo Ishiguro after A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World. Remains of the Day has since become a modern classic after it won not only the Man Booker Prize in 1989, but...