Sir Kazuo Ishiguro OBE FRSA FRSL was born 8 November 1954. He is a British novelist, screenwriter, musician, and short-story writer. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and moved to Britain in 1960 when he was five. At the age of five, Ishiguro and his family left Japan and moved to Guildford, Surrey, as his father was invited for research at the National Institute of Oceanography (now the National Oceanography Centre). He did not return to visit Japan until 1989, nearly 30 years later, when he was a participant in the Japan Foundation Short-Term Visitors' Program.
Ishiguro is one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in English. He has received four Man Booker Prize nominations and won the award in 1989 for his novel The Remains of the Day. Time named Ishiguro's novel Never Let Me Go the best novel of 2005 and one of the 100 best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005.
In 2017, the Swedish Academy awarded Ishiguro the Nobel Prize in Literature, describing him in its citation as a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".
In an interview with Kenza Buro Oe, Ishiguro stated that the Japanese settings of his first two novels were imaginary: "I grew up with a very strong image in my head of this other country, a very important other country to which I had a strong emotional tie. In England I was all the time building up this picture in my head, an imaginary Japan.”
He attended Stoughton Primary School and then Working County Grammar School in Surrey. Ishiguro sang solos as a choirboy at his church choir and school choir, and had a local fame due to the "angelic" qualities of his voice. He also enjoyed music as a teenager, listening to songs by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and, particularly, Bob Dylan. Ishiguro began learning guitar and writing songs, and initially aimed to become a professional songwriter. After finishing school in 1973, he took a gap year and travelled through the United States and Canada, all the while writing a journal and sending demo tapes to record companies. He also worked as a grouse beater for the Queen Mother at Balmoral Castle. Ishiguro later reflected on his ephemeral songwriting career, saying, "I used to see myself as some sort of musician type but there came a point when I thought: actually, this isn't me at all. I'm much less glamorous. I'm one of these people with corduroy jackets with elbow patches. It was a real comedown."