Both were set up in 1935, by Kan Kikuchi (1888-1948), when he was editor of Bungeishinju, one of Japan’s leading literary magazines, which he founded in 1923.
The Akutagawa prize is for literary fiction published by new up-and-coming writers in a magazine or newspaper. It is awarded twice a year with prize money of 1 million yen and a pocket watch.
The Naoki Prize, also awarded twice a year is for “”the best work of popular literature in any format by a new, rising, or (reasonably young) established author”.
Both prizes have 9 judges who select the winning titles from a shortlist put together by editors at the monthly magazine, Bungeishuju.
The prizes are named after Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) and Sanjugo Naoki (1891-1934) two highly regarded Japanese authors.
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