Writing has been my lifeblood for as long as I’ve been halfway literate, which makes for about sixty-eight years. In 1946, at age fourteen, I launched a small magazine, "typeset" on a typewriter, creating carbon copies. I wrote poetry and essays and composed songs. Two years later, I edited the school magazine. I was determined to study literature and become a writer. But times were bleak.

Like much of Europe, Holland, the country of my birth, had been under German occupation. Post-war Europe was impoverished and fearful of being communized. A university education was out of the question, so my father suggested a career in overseas banking. I was hired by a Dutch bank with branches all over Asia, and after a year of intensive in-house training, left by ship to my first posting, Singapore, followed by a transfer to Japan. This proved the beginning of a long affair with Japan, rich in cultural and poetic experience, with banking as my alibi. I soon mixed in bohemian circles, married a Japanese literature graduate, founded and edited an English-language poetry magazine, New Japan Pebbles, and wrote articles for newspapers and magazines. All this while somehow also meeting the expectations of my superiors at the bank.

Apart from a two-year unpaid escape, spent writing in England, I remained in banking. Yet the pen kept luring me. Finally, in 1988, at the end of a seven-year stay in New York, I left banking for good. I moved to Amsterdam, then London, then Sydney, and in 2003 back to Japan, where I currently live.

The long years of exile from my true calling had not been entirely barren. Poems and essays and short stories and unfinished plays filled a dozen folders. But now the writing turned professional: opinion pieces for newspapers, articles for magazines, more short stories.

In 2005, I finally got my first book published, an autobiography and social commentary under the title The Magatama Doodle, One Man’s Affair with Japan, 1950-2004 (Global Oriental). It drew rave reviews, both for its English edition and the Japanese translation by Hiromi Mizoguchi. Since then, I’ve published four more books: Noon Elusive and Other Stories (H2H Publishers/Trafford, 2006); Showa Japan: the Post-War Golden Age and its Troubled Legacy (Tuttle, 2008; Japanese edition, by Hiromi Mizoguchi: Random House Kodansha, 2009); The Undying Day, a bilingual (English-Japanese) collection of poetry (H2H/Trafford 2011); and The Tomb in the Kyoto Hills and Other Stories (Strategic, 2012). Some of my poems are also included in the poetry anthology Volutions (Savant, 2014). All are available on www.amazon.com with Look Inside features.
My writing is as diverse as my life and largely mirrors personal experience. Like the protagonist in my newest book, In the Eyes of the Son (Savant 2014), I also did some serious photography and even held an exhibition in 2008 in Tokyo of photographs taken of post-war Japan by me and a close friend, Ysbrand Rogge. The exhibition attracted 50,000 visitors. All this inspired my first novel, IN THE EYES OF THE SON (Savant 2014), which reflects the drama and challenges I experienced in different countries, and the painful struggle to free myself from a career that I never chose.

Books in the works include an account of how I balance the opposing forces of life (a personal philosophy if you will); a collection of vignettes of fascinating people, both famous and unknown, whom I met over the years; and a story about the dangers and thrills I was exposed to in The Hague in the closing months of the second world war.

I invite you to visit my two websites: www.habri.co.uk and www.habri.jp -- the latter is bilingual, English/Japanese, and is updated monthly.

Hans Brinckmann
Author of IN THE EYES OF THE SON (Savant 2014)