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Alfred Birnbaum was born in the U.S. in 1955 and raised in Japan from age five. He studied at Waseda University, Tokyo, under a Japanese Ministry of Education scholarship, and has been a freelance literary and cultural translator since 1980. His translations include Haruki Murakami's Wild Sheep Chase, Hardboiled Wonderland, The End of the World, and other works; Miyabe Miyuki's All She Was Worth; and Natsuki Ikezawa's A Burden of Flowers. He also compiled the short story anthology Monkey Brain Sushi: New Tastes in Japanese Fiction.