SHUNGIKU UCHIDA, author of My Son’s Lips, was born in 1959. She shocked Japan with the publication of her novel Father Fucker (1993), a hard-hitting story of domestic sexual abuse, but she is perhaps best known as a manga artist. Uchida is also an actress, winning critical acclaim for her performance as the mother in cult director Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q.
An interview with the author
Q: What inspired you to write your particular short story in this collection? Is it something you read about in the news media? An incident from your own life?
A: It was from my own experience. I never actually have been taken to a taxi driver’s house, but nearly all taxi drivers think I’m just a housewife with time on my hands when I get in a taxi with my kids. The housewife who is obsessed with washing though—that’s actually me. I guess I made this story up out of various aspects of my life.
Q: The stories from INSIDE AND OTHER SHORT FICTION explore the multitude of women’s identity issues and a major overriding theme—the difference between the woman the world sees and the woman one is inside. Do you believe the inside self and the outside self are always different? Is this an issue you’ve confronted on a personal level?
A: I wouldn’t have thought my inner and outer self was that different, but I have actually been stopped on the street and asked if that was my kid whose hand I was holding! Sometimes it’s taken some time to persuade people that I’m not a kidnapper. I guess I don’t look like someone who has children, but I have four.