Takahashi was born in Onomichi, Hiroshima prefecture and attended the Economics Department of Yokohama National University without graduating. As a radical student, he was arrested and spent half a year in prison, which caused Takahashi to develop a form of aphasia. As part of his rehabilitation, his doctors encouraged him to start writing. Since April 2005, he has been a professor at the International Department of Meiji Gakuin University.
His first novel, “Sayonara, Gyangutachi” (Sayonara, Gangsters), was published in 1982, and won the Gunzo Literary Award for First Novels. It has been acclaimed by Critics as one of the most important works of postwar Japanese literature. It has been translated into English, Italian and Brazilian Portuguese.
In addition, his “Yuga de kansho-teki na Nippon-yakyuu” (“Japanese Baseball: Elegant and Sentimental”) won the Mishima Yukio Prize in 1988. In 2012, Sayonara Christopher Robin (“Goodbye, Christopher Robin”) won the Tanizaki Prize.
He is also a noted essayist, covering a diverse field of topics ranging from literary criticism to horse-racing.