Chuo Online

  • Top
  • Opinion
  • Research
  • Education
  • People
  • RSS

Top>People>Portraying Socially Awkward People Living Life to Its Fullest


Yuki Ibuki

Yuki Ibuki [Profile]

Portraying Socially Awkward People Living Life to Its Fullest

Ms. Yuki Ibuki

"There are many people who are not able to speak up even when they have something to say"

There are quite a few hardworking novelists who have graduated from Chuo University, including the likes of Go Osaka, Kenzo Kitakata, and Kageki Shimoda. Nonetheless, all of these authors are men. There are few female Chuo University alumni who are active on the front lines of literature.

However, this situation has already changed. This is thanks to Yuki Ibuki, a Law Faculty graduate (1991).

In 2008 Ms. Ibuki debuted with Kazemachi no Hito (Poplar Publishing) and won the Third Poplar Publishing Grand Prize for Fiction Special Prize. In February of this year she went on to announce Shijukunichi no Reshipi (Poplar Publishing). In mid-July it had its 17th publishing run, so it has obviously garnered the support of quite a number of readers.

The common ground between the two works is that both of them splendidly portray the fabric of human relationships woven by completely normal, but socially awkward people.

Ms. Ibuki says, "I think there are many people with wounded hearts or who are not able to speak up even when they have something to say. But in fact, these people think too much about all kinds of things, and they are not able to say them. I have a tendency to be like that, so I am drawn to those kinds of people. I guess that's why those kinds of socially awkward people often make an appearance in my books."

Shijukunichi no Reshipi is being made into an NHK TV drama

In her debut work, first there is an elite corporate employee named Tetsuji who is on vacation because he catches a cold of the heart. In his hometown to which he has returned, there is a woman named Kimiko who has no reservations about calling herself "auntie." Kimiko seems to be a very cheerful woman, but the truth is she "has a wounded heart and thinks a lot," and has her heart touched by the opposite sex.

Then there is Shijukunichi no Reshipi which seems to have socially awkward people on parade. This book will be made into a drama for NHK General TV and will air next spring over four episodes between February 15 and March 8. This is part of the Drama 10 series in the Tuesday time slot from 10:00 to 10:48. Recently the series has won acclaim for Yokame no Semi, originally by Noaki-prize-winning writer Mitsuyo Kakuta. In addition, Ms. Ibuki's drama will be the final story of the program's 10th year.

"When I heard that my story would be the final one in this year's Drama 10 season, I teared up a bit. I think this is a major turning point for me."

Shijukunichi no Reshipi features Ryohei, who has lost his wife Itsumi, and his daughter Yuriko who has returned home after deciding to divorce her husband. The drama begins when a wild girl, Imoto, appears before the father and daughter. Against this backdrop, the father and daughter are rejuvenated by the 49th day after Itsumi's death. A superb cast, featuring Emi Wakui in the leading role of Yuriko and Shiro Ito as Ryohei, has aroused interest in the drama.

Food plays a supporting role in Ms. Ibuki's books by adding color to scenes. Kazemachi no Hito includes refreshing dishes like "ika subuta" (sweet and sour pork with minced squid balls) and "chiki chiki nanban" (fried chicken mixed with sweet vinegar and topped with tartar sauce, based on a dish called chicken nanban).

"They are all dishes I created. I didn't really have any intention to use food as a mechanism. But the meals are eaten three times a day in the homes where I set most of my books, so food ends up being a matter of course."

I'd like to use the theme of the relationship between the form of the family and changes in the modern economy

Ms. Ibuki graduated from the Faculty of Law and took the National Bar Exam when she was in her fourth year at Chuo University, but she failed. Seeking revenge, she decided to join a legal office, but because she was accepted into a publishing company, she did not move into the legal world.

"I've always liked magazines and books, so I was torn between joining into the world of law or publishing."

She was hired for the editorial department of a woman's magazine publisher, but the first place she worked was the planning office. It was a department that planned events connected to the editorial departments of each magazine.

"I joined the company, because I wanted to do editing work, so I was pretty turned off at first. I loaded dollies and pushed them around at events. But everyone at the planning office supported me in transferring to the editorial department as soon as possible. I was also able to get a view of the whole company from the planning office, so the work slowly became more interesting."

After three years, Ms. Ibuki was placed in the editorial department of a kimono magazine, and she went to scenario writer's school while working in the planning office.

"If I couldn't be an editor, I thought I'd try to be scenario writer. I left scenario writer's school when I moved to the editorial department, but I think it was a good experience."

One thing that is common to both novels and scenarios is that in both you structure the story. Therefore, the things Ms. Ibuki learned in scenario writer's school are still with her today.

Ms. Ibuki would like to tackle the theme of Showa period history in the near future.

"From the pre-war period, the war, post-war, the period of high growth, all the way to the bubble economy during the Heisei years-what kind of effect did these social changes have on the shape of the family? I'm interested in this kind of thing."

Ms. Ibuki is planning to announce a new book early next year, which her readers are eagerly awaiting.

Offered by: Chuo Daigaku Gakuin Jiho No. 466

Ms. Yuki Ibuki
Ms. Ibuki was born in Mie prefecture in 1969. She graduated from the Faculty of Law, Chuo University in 1991. In 2008 she debuted as a writer and won the Third Poplar Grand Prize for Fiction Special Prize for Kazemachi no Hito (name changed to Natsu no Owari no Toraviata). In February 2010 she announced Shijukunichi no Reshipi (Poplar Publishing), which is scheduled to air as a TV drama in four parts as the final story of the year in NHK General TV's Drama 10 series between February and March 2011.