Educated in the US, she wrote her first published work in the English language, a scholarly essay on the literary criticism of Paul de Man. She is often portrayed as a Japanese novelist who questions the conventional boundaries of national literature. Her novels include Light and Darkness Continued, An I Novel from left to right, and A Real Novel, which has been selected for the Japanese Literature Publishing Project, a national program to promote translations of Japanese literature. She also writes essays and literary criticism in major newspapers and journals. Many of Minae Mizumura's works have been described as highly readable and often entertaining, while, at the same time, resonating with historical significance. They are also known for their formalistic innovations, such as making use of unusual printing formats and inserting English texts and photographic illustrations. Because she returned to Japan as an adult and chose to write in the Japanese language despite her coming of age in the United States and her education in the English language, critics have often noted her particular love for Japanese language and her commitment to Japanese literature. Her analysis and observations on the demise of the Japanese language, detailed in her book of criticism called The Fall of the Japanese Language in the Age of English, gained much attention from the mainstream media as well as the Internet. In the same book, she wrote of the significance of preserving the great literary tradition established during the time of building modern Japan.
Minae Mizumura has taught at Princeton University, the University of Michigan and Stanford University. She was a resident novelist in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 2003. She has won the 1991 Agency for Cultural Affairs New Artist Award, the 1996 Noma New Artist Award, and the 2003 Yomiuri Prize for Literature. Minae Mizumura now resides in Tokyo, Japan.