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.”

Originals/原稿:
芥川賞に円城さん・田中さん、直木賞に葉室さん

芥川賞に決まった(右から)円城塔さんと田中慎弥さん、直木賞に決まった葉室麟さん(17日、東京・千代田区で)=武藤要撮影

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。

 5度目の直木賞候補で受賞した葉室さんは北九州市生まれ。05年に作家デビューし、07年、松本清張賞を受けている。受賞作は、過酷な運命を受け入れ、藩史編さんに打ち込む武士の姿を季節の移ろいとともに描く。浅田次郎選考委員は「これまでにない完成度。非常にデッサン力があり、冒頭からきちんと設定を明らかにして進行している。目配り、気配りが行き届いた円熟の作品」と語った。

 副賞は各100万円。贈呈式は2月中旬に行われる。

(2012年1月17日23時34分 読売新聞)

芥川賞・田中さん不機嫌「私がもらって当然」

 「現代的で知的なものと古めかしいものの両極」。

 同じ1972年生まれの新芥川賞作家2人は、黒井千次選考委員の選評通り、対照的な経歴と作風を持つ。

 円城さんは、札幌市生まれ。東大大学院の博士課程で理論物理を修め、任期つき研究職を転々とした末、「食べるために」書き始めた。3度目の候補だった受賞作は数十の言語を駆使する作家が登場し、言葉と書く行為を問う実験的小説。

 田中さんは山口県下関市生まれ。高校卒業後、「ほかのことができず」、谷崎潤一郎や三島由紀夫などを乱読し、毎日、あてもなく書き続けた。05年デビュー。実家で母親と暮らす。今回は5度目の候補。

 受賞作は下関とおぼしき昭和の末の町が舞台。川や魚の匂いが漂う集落に住む高校生を主人公に、暴力的な父との確執や性の衝動を、密度の高い文章で描く。

 記者会見も2人の違いが際立った。円城さんは「芥川賞は多くの人に読まれる賞。読めない人がいるなら私の力不足だが、今後も奇妙な小説を書き続けたい」と、穏やかに語った。

 田中さんは開口一番、ある女優の言葉を引き、「私がもらって当然――大体、そんな感じです」。不機嫌そうな表情で「私は、本を読んで小説を書いて作家になったというだけ」と答え、会見は短時間で終わった。

(2012年1月17日23時15分 読売新聞)

石原氏「刺激にならない」と芥川賞選考委員辞意

 芥川賞の選考委員を務めている東京都の石原慎太郎知事は18日、報道陣に対し、「全然刺激にならない」と述べ、選考委員を今回限りで退く考えを明らかにした。

 石原知事は、「いつか若いやつが出てきて、足をすくわれる戦慄を期待していたが、刺激にならない。自分の人生にとって意味合いもない」と語った。

 石原知事は、1995年から同賞の選考委員に加わっていた。

(2012年1月18日13時38分 読売新聞)

石原知事「バカみたいな作品ばかりだよ」とも

 東京都の石原慎太郎知事が18日、芥川賞の選考委員を今回限りで退く考えを表明したことについて、主催者の日本文学振興会は「現時点では何も決まっていない。近々お会いして相談をしたい」としている。

 ただ、石原氏は報道陣に「今回をもって辞める。(17日夜の選考会の席上で)そう言っておいたんだけど、辞めないでくれって言うのだけど、俺は辞める」と述べ、慰留されたが決心は変わらないことを強調した。

 石原知事は今月6日の定例会見で今回の芥川賞候補作について「苦労しながら読んでいるが、バカみたいな作品ばかりだよ」と言及。17日の芥川賞受賞者会見では、円城塔(えんじょうとう)さん(39)とともに受賞が決まった田中慎弥(たなかしんや)さん(39)が、「受賞を断って気の小さい選考委員が倒れたりしたら、都政が混乱する。都知事閣下と都民のためにもらっといてやる」と述べ、ネットなどで波紋が広がっていた。

 この田中さんの発言について石原知事は18日、「いいじゃない。皮肉っぽくて。俺はむしろ彼の作品は評価したんだけどね」と語った。

(2012年1月19日10時14分 読売新聞)

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