Mieko Kanai (金井 美恵子 Kanai Mieko?, born November 3, 1947 in Takasaki) is a Japanese writer of fiction, especially short stories, as well as poetry. She is also a literary critic. Mieko Kanai read widely in fiction and poetry from an early age. In 1967, at the young age of twenty, she was runner-up for the Dazai Osamu Prize for Ai no seikatsu (A Life of Love), and the following year she received the Gendaishi Techo Prize for poetry. While maintaining a certain distance from literary circles and journalism, she has built up her own world of fiction with a sensual style. Along with her fiction, her criticism, which shows off her scathing, acid insight, has a devoted following.