Minakami Tsutomu (1919-2004), also known as Mizukami Tsutomu, was a popular and prolific Japanese author of novels, detective stories, biographies, and plays. Many of his stories were made into movies. Minakami was born in Wakasa, Fukui Prefecture, to a poor family. Between the ages of 9 and 12, he was a novice in a Zen temple in Kyoto. Disillusioned by the conduct of the temple's chief priest, however, he left the temple in 1936. Minakami entered Ritsumeikan University to study Japanese literature, but dropped out for financial reasons and because of bad health. After World War II he learned from author Uno Koji, and in 1952 wrote the autobiographical Furaipan-no uta (Song of the Frying Pan), which became a best-seller. For nearly the next decade, however, he did not publish, but in 1960, his story centering on Minamata disease, Umi-no kiba (The Ocean's Fangs), started his career as a writer of detective stories on social themes. His autobiographic Gan-no tera (Temple of the Geese) won the Naoki Prize in 1961. He followed this in 1962 with Kiga kaikyo (Starvation Straits, 1962) and Kiri to kage (Fog and Shadows, 1963), then novels dealing with women's concerns, including Gobancho Yugiriro (The Pavilion of the Evening Mist at Gobancho, 1963) and Echizen takeningyo (The Bamboo Dolls of Echizen, 1964). He won the 1975 Tanizaki Prize for his biography Ikkyu.
In 1993, he founded "Kanroku Kobo" in Nagano Prefecter, he wrote novels, essays and made chikushi by himself. After his death, successor (Koyama Kumiko) still making it.