Hayashi Fumiko (1903-1951) was a Japanese novelist, story writer, and poet. She spent her childhood as an itinerant peddler on the island of Kyushu, along with her mother, a geisha, and her mother's lover. The memory of the awful poverty of those early childhood experiences were drawn on for much of her fiction, as well as her string of failed relationships in adulthood, and her experiences in southeast Asia during the second World War. Hayashi's grim, despairing stories of lower-class hard-luck characters were filmed several times in the 1950s by the master filmmaker Naruse Mikio, who felt an affinity for Hayashi's bleak worldview. Though one of the most popular Japanese authors of the 1930s and 40s and frequently anthologized in Japanese story collections, the author remains mostly forgotten. Very little of Hayashi's work has been translated into English, though a translation of her last novel, Floating Clouds, considered her finest - and also the best-known of Naruse's films - is still in print.