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When “Kitchen,” the debut novel by Banana Yoshimoto, was first released in Japan in 1988, it caused such a stir that the media frenzy around her was dubbed “Bananamania.”

Her tale of love and loss clearly struck a chord with many people at the time, and the work won both the Kaien Newcomer Writers Prize and the Izumi Kyoka Literary Prize. She also received the Best Newcomer Artists Recommended by the Minister of Education.

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