Andersen Award Sparks Interest in Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito Series

Nahoko Uehashi (Goodreads)By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Author Nahoko Uehashi has smiled out from many a feature article, sales display, and book obi (advertising “sash”) in Japan since receiving the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing—a biennial award sometimes dubbed the Nobel Prize for children’s literature.

This past New Year’s Eve in Kamakura, I watched Uehashi help judge the TV special Kohaku uta gassen (Red and White Singing Contest)a celebrity sing-off as famous in Japan as New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in the U.S. Uehashi judged alongside figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu and other stars. Already a bestselling author, Uehashi is now a household name.

Her acclaimed Moribito novels have been adapted for radio, manga, and anime, and the first novel will become a four-part TV drama aired beginning this March in Japan. Overseas, rights to the full book series have sold in China, with rights to individual books sold in Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, Taiwan, the U.S., and Vietnam. In the U.S., the first two Moribito novels—translated by Cathy Hirano as Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness—have won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award and a Batchelder Honor for publisher Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.

Haruka Ayase as Balsa (NHK)

Above: Haruka Ayase stars as Balsa in the upcoming NHK TV dramatization of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. 

Many readers of English long to see more translations of books in the Moribito series—as shown in comments to the 2014 post on our blog announcing Uehashi’s Andersen Award. Since 2014, this post has ranked among our blog’s top-three most viewed.

Have you treated yourself to a reading of Moribito and Moribito II? If not, both books are worth adding to your 2016 reading list. Happy reading, and Happy New Year!

Moribito I and Moribito II (Goodreads)

Above: Click to read more about Nahoko Uehashi and the Moribito series at Goodreads.



4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by A Reader on April 30, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    I’m re-reading both of them after watching the miniseries (without understanding anything but the simplest words, since that hasn’t got subtitles yet… speaking of translation…) and yet again I find myself absolutely desperate for the rest of the series. I want to petition Scholastic to finish the series. 😦


    • Posted by Worldly Embers on June 24, 2016 at 2:46 am

      I am in complete agreement. This series seizes a reader’s empathy and imagination by force, using them as reigns to lurch the reader onto a real journey.
      Please, Scholastic, translate the rest of the books!


  2. Hello. Would anyone know where I could purchase the Moribito series in Vietnamese? I can somewhat read the language and if the rest series has been translated, I would be elated. Thank you.


    • Posted by SCBWI Japan Translation Group on January 8, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Hi! There is no Vietnamese version of Moribito yet. The Kaisei-sha (Japanese publisher’s) Moribito website has a list of the languages Moribito has been published in. Go to the link below and scroll down on the page until you get to 世界のMORIBITO

      According to this, Moribito has been translated into English, French, Italian, Spanish (in Spain and in Columbia/Panama/Ecuador), Taiwanese, China-Chinese, Portuguese and Korean.


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