Shogo Oketani was born in Shinagawa ward, Tokyo, Japan in 1958. His great-grandmother was a geisha, and his great-grandfather was a gambler. His father is the respected literary critic Oketani Hideaki.
Oketani graduated from Keio University with a degree in Philosophy and Literature. After graduation he spent over a decade (1986-1996) as a staff writer for The Sangyo Times, Japan’s semiconductor industry news. Then he moved to Northern California, where he was a freelance technical translator for clients such as Lucasfilm, Applied Materials, Hitachi, Apple, Nikkei News, Eastman Kodak, iFire Technologies, The Mori Group, LAM Research, and many others. He was also Project Director for Looksmart and served as Adjunct Professor of Translation at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Shogo has received the 2003 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature from the Donald Keene Center of Columbia University, as well as a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in Translation, together with his wife, Leza Lowitz.
After 9 years in California, Oketani relocated to Tokyo in 2003, where he opened Sun and Moon Yoga in Tokyo with his wife, Leza Lowitz. A black belt in Karate and a long-term practitioner of Shaolinquan, Kendo and Judo, Oketani teaches self-defense workshops at Sun and Moon and at various corporations in Tokyo. He also periodically teaches cooking classes. He and Lowitz have a son.
Oketani works at Dobunsha Publishers, editing college textbooks in the fields of nutrition, bio-technology and food science. In his spare time, he writes fiction and publishes literary translation. He is at work on an historical novel about a revolutionary samurai in medieval Japan.