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Dale Furutani is the first Asian American to win major mystery writing awards. He's a third generation Japanese American (a Sansei), born in Hilo, Hawaii, on December 1, 1946.

His family is originally from Suo-Oshima Island, which is south of Hiroshima. Ten members of his family landed on the island in a small boat in 1869. The passengers in the boat were all women and children under ten. Why no adult men from the Furutani family were in the boat is unexplained.  The reason for this strange occurrence was investigated by Dale’s uncle, who was a poet and award-winning journalist fluent in both English and Japanese, but no definitive answer was uncovered (research was hampered by numerous Japanese records destroyed during WWII).


Dale’s clan is the Matsudaira, which was a branch of the Tokugawa Shogunate family, so there is some speculation that the women and children in the family being set adrift in a boat may be related to the Meiji Revolution and the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate, but there is no definitive answer to this mystery. Note: In Japan a clan included people of all classes, from peasants to samurai to nobles, so being a member of the Matsudaira clan does not denote any particular social rank.


His grandfather grew up on the island to be a fisherman. He was exceptionally tall for the Japanese of that era (almost six-feet), and was earning a man’s share of the catch by the time he was ten. In 1896 Dale’s grandfather and grandmother came to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations as indentured servants. His grandfather soon escaped his contract and eventually became a successful fisherman, until his fishing boat was taken from him during World War II. The U.S. government decided that since his fishing boat had a radio, he might by a spy.


Dale's mother was at Pearl Harbor during the infamous attack on December 7, 1941. She was at a church camp over the harbor, and could see the attack unfold below her. During the war she worked for the American Red Cross in Honolulu.


When he was five, Dale was adopted by John Flanagan when John married his mother. The family moved to California and there he met with racial prejudice for the first time, as he was virtually the only Asian in his school.


Dale went to California State University, Long Beach, where he received a degree in Creative Writing, and UCLA, where he received an MBA in Marketing and Information Systems. He worked his way through undergraduate school writing articles and serving as a contributing editor for various magazines. He’s had over 250 articles published, as well as three non-fiction books about computers. He has won prizes for his poetry and had a one-act play produced while he was in college.


Dale started writing book-length fiction late in life. Death in Little Tokyo, his first novel, appeared in 1996. It's set in the Little Tokyo and Silver Lake districts of modern Los Angeles. It won an Anthony Award, a Macavity Award, and was nominated for the Agatha Award. This was the first time that an Asian American won major mystery awards.


In 1998 he launched a second mystery series, set in 1603 Japan and featuring a ronin (masterless samurai) as the detective. The first book in the series was Death at the Crossroads. Jade Palace Vendetta was the second book in the series and it received a coveted starred review in Publisher's Weekly. Kill the Shogun, the third book in the series, was on the Los Angeles Times Fiction Bestseller list.


For over 30 years, Dale has owned a small consulting company that specializes in the automotive industry. His many clients have included Nissan USA, Nissan Japan, Subaru, J.D. Power and Associates, Land Rover North America, Mitsubishi Motor Japan, Xerox, GE, Oracle Software, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Consulting, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Consulting, and Isuzu. He has also served as President of a software company, Parts Marketing Manager for Yamaha Motorcycles, Director of Information Technology for Nissan USA and the CIO of an Internet company.


Dale has been married over 40 years, and he and his wife Sharon live in the Pacific Northwest, near Seattle. He has spent extensive time in Los Angeles, Portland, Tokyo and Las Vegas. While living in Los Angeles, he and his wife were honored by the City of Los Angeles for their efforts to preserve and protect Silver Lake Reservoir. In 2000, Dale was chosen as one of the “44 Faces of Diversity” by the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Convention Bureau. His face appeared on street banners throughout the City, including the Los Angeles Airport, Olvera Street, and Westwood.


Around 2001, while living in Japan, Dale became ill with the first of several major health problems, including serious infections, peritonitis, various operations, and cancer. He stopped writing for several years while his health improved. Finally, in 2012, he was able to complete a new book, The Curious Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in Japan, which is available on both the Kindle reader and in trade paperback. All his prior novels are also available on the Kindle reader.