Shūichi Yoshida (吉田 修一) was born in Nagasaki, and studied Business Administration at Hosei University. He won the Bungakukai Prize for New Writers in 1997 for his story "Saigo no Musuko", and the Akutagawa Prize in 2002 (the fifth time he'd been nominated for the prize) for "Park Life". In 2002 he also won the Yamamoto Prize for Parade, and for winning both literary and popular prizes Yoshida was seen as a crossover writer, like Amy Yamada or Masahiko Shimada. In 2003 he wrote lyrics for the song "Great Escape" on Tomoyasu Hotei's album Doberman. His 2007 novel Villain won the Osaragi Jiro Prize and the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award, and was recently adapted into an award-winning 2010 film by Lee Sang-il.
Villain, the first novel by Shuichi Yoshida to be translated into English, is the story of a murder: a tale of desperation set in desolate seaside towns, online chat rooms and love hotels.
January 6, 2002. The body of Yoshino, a female insurance saleswoman, is found at Mitsue Pass, an eery inland spot in the southernmost region of Japan, rumoured to be home to ghosts. A young construction worker, Yuichi, is soon arrested by the Nagasaki police on suspicion of strangling the victim.
As Yuichi and his lover try to elude the police, the events that led up to the murder and its aftermath unfold. Moving back and forth in time, we learn the stories of the victim, the murderer, and their families - stories in which both Japan's past and future are written, revealing the inner lives of men and women who are not everything they appear to be.
Villain depicts loneliness and alienation in contemporary Japan more searingly than ever before. Part police procedural, part dirty realism, Shuichi Yoshida's drama pushes his characters to the razor's edge of despair.