Akutagawa, Naoki prizes awarded

Kyodo News

The 138th Akutagawa Prize for promising new writers of serious fiction has been awarded to Mieko Kawakami for “Chichi to Ran” (“Breasts and Egg”), while the Naoki Prize has been given to Kazuki Sakuraba for “Watashi no Otoko” (“My Man”), the selection committees for the prizes announced Wednesday.

Kawakami, a 31-year-old Osaka native, used her novel to depict the concept of “I” and how the heart and body relate to each other through three figures — a woman, her elderly sister and the sister’s daughter.

Kawakami was a surprise winner over Yang Yi, 43, who was expected to become the first Chinese to win the prestigious prize.

Sakuraba, 36, hails from Tottori Prefecture and specializes in mystery novels.

The semiannual Akutagawa Prize, established in 1935, is named after respected novelist Ryunosuke Akutagawa. The Akutagawa and Naoki prizes are Japan’s most prestigious literary awards.