Factbook

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    • Prizes

    The two most prestigious Japanese literary prizes are the Akutagawa and the Naoki prizes[UPDATED: 2-11-2018]

    Japan’s two most prestigious literary prizes amongst the more than 500 prizes that are awarded each year in Japan for literature are probably the Akutagawa and the Naoki prizes.

    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.
    The two most prestigious Japanese literary prizes are the Akutagawa and the Naoki prizes Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Both of Japan’s Nobel literature prize-winners now have literary prizes named after them[UPDATED: 2-5-2018]

    There are Japanese literary prizes named after both of Japan’s two winners of Nobel prizes in Literature.

    The Kawabata Yasunari Prize, was founded in 1973 using the Nobel Prize money. It is awarded once a year for the best work of short fiction. The winner receives 1 million yen. Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972) won the Nobel Prize in 1968 and committed suicide in 1972.

    The Kenzaburō Ōe Prize, sponsored by Kondansha, Japan’s largest publisher was set up in 2006 on the 100th anniversary of the publishing company. Kenzaburō Ōe, born in 1935 won his Nobel Prize in 1994. The winner of the prize is personally selected by Ōe.  

    There is no cash prize. The winning novel is translated into other languages such as English, French and German for publication as its award. This can have a material impact on an author’s career. Winning the prize in 2010, for Suri (The Thief)  helped launch Fuminori  Nakamura’s international career, for example.  

    Many other famous Japanese authors including: Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927), Osamu Daizai (1873-1948), Shinichi Hoshi (1929-1997), Kyoka Izumi (1873-1939), Yukio Mishima (1925-1970), Sanjugo Naoki (1891-1934) and Junichiro Tanazaki, to list a few, also have literary prizes named after them.  
    Both of Japan’s Nobel literature prize-winners now have literary prizes named after them Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Two Japanese authors have won the Nobel Prize in Literature[UPDATED: 10-10-2017]

    Two Japanese authors have won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Yasunari Kawabata in 1968  “for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind” and Kenzaburo Oe in 1994 “who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today.”

    When it announced the award the Nobel committee cited three of Kawabata’s novels Snow Country, Thousand Cranes and The Old Capital; while Oe is known for titles associated with his disabled son such as A Healing Family and Father, Where are you going? 

    In 2017, Kazuo Ishiguro, probably best known as author of The Remains of the Day a novel about a British aristocrat’s butler, won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Ishiguro, born in Nagasaki in 1954, moved to the United Kingdom from Japan when he was five and lives in Golders Green, North London. He is a British citizen and writes in English.  
    Two Japanese authors have won the Nobel Prize in Literature Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japanese newspaper publishers support creative writing and award literary prizes[UPDATED: 5-31-2017]

    Japanese newspaper publishers award literary prizes, the most prestigious of which is the Yomiuri Prize for Literature. Other notable prizes include the Mainichi Publishing Prize and the Osaragi Jiro Prize awarded by the Asahi Newspaper. Most major Japanese newspapers also regularly publish serialized fiction.
    Japanese newspaper publishers support creative writing and award literary prizes Posted by Richard Nathan