Nahoko Uehashi (上橋 菜穂子, Uehashi Nahoko) (born July 15, 1962 in Tokyo, Japan) is a Japanese writer, primarily of fantasy books, for which she has won many awards.
Uehashi is also Professor of Ethnology at Kawamura Gakuen Women's University, having completed a PhD focusing on the Yamatji, an indigenous Australian people.
Uehashi's career as a writer started in 1989. Her first book was The Sacred Tree (精霊の木 seirei no ki). She then wrote the novel O God, Sleep Ye in The Forest of Moon (月の森にカミよ眠れ tsuki no mori ni kami yo nemure). This novel received an award from the Japanese Association of Writers for Children, which made her one of the famous Japanese-fantasy authors.
In 1996, she published the first book of her Moribito series, Guardian of the Spirit (精霊の守り人 Seirei no Moribito). The novel received the Noma Children's Literature New Face Prize and the Sankei Children's Culture and Publishing award and the English translation was awarded the Mildred L. Batchelder Award in 2009. In 1999, Uehashi published the second book of the Moribito series, Guardian of the Darkness (闇の守り人 Yami no Moribito). With this novel she received the Japanese Association of Writers for Children's award. In 2002 The Guardian series won the Iwaya Sazanami literature award, and in 2003, Guardian of the God (神の守り人 Kami no Moribito) won another Japanese award from the Shogakukan publishing company. Then, in 2003, Uehashi wrote the novel Beyond the Fox Whistle (狐笛のかなた Koteki no Kanata), which received a Noma Children's Literature award. In 2006 she wrote the two volume Kemono no Sōja (獣の奏者, lit. "The Beast Player"), which she complemented with two more volumes in 2009.
Both Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and the first two volumes of Kemono no Sōja have had anime adaptations, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit has also been made into a radio drama and Kemono no Sōja into a manga.
For her "lasting contribution" as a children's writer, Uehashi won the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2014. Announced late in March, it will be presented on 10 September at the annual conference of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in Mexico City.
According to the IBBY jury chaired by María Jesús Gil of Spain, "Uehashi tells stories that are replete with imagination, culture and the beauty of a sophisticated process and form. Her literary subjects are based on ancient Japanese mythology and science-fiction fantasy that are deeply rooted in human reality."
Works in English translation
- Moribito series (Guardian series)
- Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (original title: Seirei no Moribito), translated by Cathy Hirano (Arthur A. Levine Books, June 2008)
- Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness (original title: Yami no Moribito), transl. Cathy Hirano (Arthur A. Levine Books, May 2009)