Tsutomu Mizukami, a prize-winning novelist, died of pneumonia Wednesday at his office in Nagano Prefecture, his family said. He was 85.
Mizukami was born into a poor family in Fukui Prefecture. His works include “Kigakaikyo” (“Starvation Strait”) and “Gan no Tera” (“Temple of Geese”), which earned him the prestigious Naoki literary award in 1961 and was based in part on his three years as an apprentice Buddhist priest when he was a boy.
After becoming a member of the Japan Art Academy in 1988, Mizukami was named a person of cultural merit in 1998.
He also contributed to expanding cultural exchanges between Japan and China, and was actively involved in the antinuclear movement.