In a recent conversation about Japanese literature, translator Yuki Tejima, who runs the book-focused Instagram account @booknerdtokyo, told me, “Women have always had a place in the literary world and have always been widely read. , but now there’s a new generation of writers with very powerful voices.” This sentiment was reflected in 2022, with Japanese women writers receiving praise at home and abroad for their work.
While the women writers who have won the country’s top literary prizes aren’t specific this year, there was a remarkable achievement this summer: All five shortlisted for the biannual Akutagawa Prize were women, the first time that has happened from the prestigious literary prize for promotion. and emerging authors launched in 1935. Junko Takase ended up winning her novel “Oishii Gohan ga Taberaremasu Yoni” (roughly translated as “I wish I could eat delicious food”), which the culture critic of the Japan Times Thu-Huong Ha described it as a “sinister commentary on feminism and social currency” deceptively cooked in themes of food and office politics.
Meanwhile, Misumi Kubo’s five-story collection “Yoru ni Hoshi o Hanatsu” (which translates as “Releasing Stars to the Night Sky”) won the Naoki Prize for Popular Fiction, for which four women and one man
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