Akiyuki Nosaka lost his mother at birth and was immediately entrusted into care by his father - a fact which he discovered only when his adoptive parents were killed in the American bombing of Kobe. At the age of fourteen, orphaned and alone in war-ravaged Japan, he saw his younger sister starve to death. He was sent to prison for stealing and involvement in the black market, but, after the reappearance of his biological father, managed to go to university. However, he soon dropped out and made a living doing odd jobs, including dog-washing and selling his own blood. He went on to become a lyricist, screenwriter, journalist, singer, novelist, fashion model and rugby club manager. He even joined the High Chamber of the Japanese Diet in 1983.
The Pornographers, Nosaka's first novella, was published in 1963 and gained the admiration of Yukio Mishima. Graves of the Fireflies and Seaweeds of America - both largely autobiographical - were awarded the Naoki Literary prize in 1967. Nosaka has written nearly 100 books, both fiction and non-fiction; his work is violent, both tragic and comical. War Stories for Children and Graves of the Fireflies were both inspired by his own childhood, and very movingly depict the effect of war on Japanese - and any - society.
Nosaka is extremely well known in Japan today, not just as a writer, but also as a TV personality, scriptwriter, songwriter, comedian, singer and even politician. He suffered a stroke in 2003 but still writes for newspapers and radio.