Winners of Akutagawa and Naoki Literary Prizes Announced; Mayor of Tokyo (a Former Novelist) Intends to Quit Selection Committee, Citing Idiocy of Submissions

Messrs. Enjō and Tanaka Win Akutagawa Prize; and Naoki Prize to Mr. Hamuro
Yomiuri Shimbun: 芥川賞に円城さん・田中さん、直木賞に葉室さん
January 17, 2012

The winners of the 146th Akutagawa Prize and Naoki Prize, hosted by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Literature, were decided, announced, and honored the night of the 17th at Shinrakuchi, a 136-year old first-class restaurant in Tsuiji, Tokyo. The Akutagawa Prize [for best short story in Japanese by a new or rising author] went to Tō Enjō (39) for “The Clown’s Butterfly”, published in the July 2011 edition of Gunzō Magazine (a gunzō is a group of sculptures), and Shinya Tanaka (39) for “Eating Each Other”, published in Subaru (Pleiades) last October. Rin Hamuro (60) won the Naoki Prize [for best novel in Japanese by a new or rising author] for Chronicle of Evening Cicadas (published by Shodensha).

Mr. Hamuro, who has been nominated for the Naoki five times, was born in Kitakyushu. He debuted in 2005 and won the Seichō Matsumoto Prize in 2007. His prize-winning novel is about a samurai who passes the four seasons in hiding after being ordered to commit suicide by feudal enemies.

Committee member Jirō Asada said “it’s more complete than anything that came before it. It’s extremely well-designed and progresses from a setup that’s clear from the very beginning. It’s a mature piece that was written with care and attentiveness.”

The monetary award is 1 million yen. A formal presentation ceremony will be held in mid-February.

Akutagawa Winner Tanaka Displeased with Long Wait for Award: “I Obviously Deserved to Win This”
Yomiuri Shimbun: 芥川賞・田中さん不機嫌「私がもらって当然」
January 18, 2012

“Modern intelligence and old-fashioned thinking: we have both,” committee member Senji Kuroi commented about the contrasting careers and styles of the two Akutagawa Prize winners, both born in 1972.

Mr. Enjō was born in Sapporo. After receiving a doctorate in theoretical physics from Tokyo University and serving at various research institutes, he began to write “Eating Each Other”. The work, his third to be nominated for the award, is an experimental short story about a writer fluent in dozens of languages which examines the spoken and written word. Even the selection committee was divided about it.

Mr. Tanaka was born in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi. After graduating from high school, “because I couldn’t do anything else,” he randomly selected and read the works of writers like Jun’ichirō Tanizaki and Yukio Mishima and free-wrote about them. His literary debut was in 2005. He lives in his childhood home with his mother. This was his fifth nomination.

His story is set in a Shimonoseki neighborhood in the much-beloved very late Showa period. Its protagonist is a high school student, living in a village that smells of rivers and fish, whose feuds with his father and sexual impulses are described in dense sentences.

The differences between the two authors were clear at the press conference as well. Mr. Enjō said “the prizewinning works are read by many people. If people don’t read mine, there’s nothing I can do about it, but I want to keep writing strange and mysterious tales,” he said gracefully.

Mr. Tanaka began his speecy by quoting an actress: “I obviously deserved to win this. That’s pretty much what I’m feeling right now.” He said with a displeased-looking expression, “Reading books, writing novels, and being an author is all I’ve ever done.” The press conference was a short one.

Tokyo Governor Ishihara Announces Intent to Resign from Akutagawa Prize Committee: “It’s Not Stimulating”
Yomiuri Shimbun: 石原氏「刺激にならない」と芥川賞選考委員辞意
January 18, 2012

Shintarō Ishihara, [once a novelist and now] Governor of Tokyo, announced his intent to resign from the Akutagawa Prize Committee after this award because it’s “absolutely unstimulating.”

Governor Ishihara said “I’ve been hoping that a young person would come up, make me shudder, pull me back into it, but nothing has excited me. It has no meaning for my life.”

The governor became a committee member in 1995.

Governor Ishihara: “All the Submissions are Idiotic”
Yomiuri Shimbun: 石原知事「バカみたいな作品ばかりだよ」とも
January 19, 2012

Regarding Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s announcement of his intent to resign from the Akutagawa Prize Committee, the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Literature which hosts the award said “nothing is decided as yet. We’d like to meet with him soon and talk about it.”

However, Mr. Ishihara emphasized to the press today that he could not be dissuaded: “I’m quitting after this award. I said that (at the meeting on the night of the 17th), and they’ve been asking me not to quit, but I’m quitting.”

After a regular committee meeting on the 6th, Mr. Ishihara said about the nominees, “I’ve been laboring through the reading, but all the stories are idiotic.”

At the announcement on the 17th, Mr. Shinya Tanaka (39), who won the award along with Tō Enjō (39), said, “If I refuse this award and took down that small-minded man, the government would fall into chaos. For the sake of His Excellency the Governor and the citizens of the capital city, I will accept this award.” The rippling across the Internet and media.

In response to Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Ishihara said on the 18th, “Now that’s a good one. It’s ironic. I rather liked his story, though.”



芥川賞・直木賞が決まった 第146回芥川賞・直木賞(日本文学振興会主催)の選考会が17日夜、東京・築地の新喜楽で開かれ、芥川賞に、円城(えんじょう)塔(とう)さん(39)の「道化師の蝶(ちょう)」(「群像」2011年7月号)、田中慎弥さん(39)の「共喰(ともぐ)い」(「すばる」同10月号)、直木賞に葉室(はむろ)麟(りん)さん(60)の「蜩(ひぐらし)ノ記」(祥伝社)が決まった。



(2012年1月17日23時34分 読売新聞)









(2012年1月17日23時15分 読売新聞)





(2012年1月18日13時38分 読売新聞)






(2012年1月19日10時14分 読売新聞)

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