In a recent conversation about Japanese literature, translator Yuki Teshima, who runs the book-centric Instagram account @booknerdtokyo, told me: A new generation of writers with a really strong voice. That sentiment was reflected in her 2022, a Japanese female writer receiving national and international acclaim for her work.
It’s not the only year that a woman writer has won the country’s top literary prize, but this summer saw some notable achievements. Her five finalists for the biannual Akutagawa Prize were all women. Junko Takase won the award for the novel “May you eat delicious food” written by The Japan Times cultural critic Tuphon. Ha described it as a “sinister commentary on feminism and social currency,” deceptively baked into themes about food and office politics.
On the other hand, Misumi Kubo’s 5 short stories “Yoru ni Hoshi wo Hanatsu” won the Naoki Prize in the Popular Novel category, with 4 female and 1 male nominees.
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