The Josai University International Modern Poetry Center has awarded 12 prizes in an effort to recognize international students who have created original Japanese poetry works.
Dubbed “The Road Home Prize,” the initiative is in honor of former Chancellor Noriko Mizuta’s “Kiro” collection of poetry about international travel in a globalized world. Kiro is a Japanese word that literally means the road home.
The prize, created last year, is sponsored by publisher Shichosha and supported by The Japan Times and Mainichi Newspapers.
The prize is designed to build bridges between Japan and international students, foster the literary culture of exchange students and encourage them to enrich their Japanese language studies through creative writing.
“International students come to Japan and study Japanese very hard to be able to write poems in it. That’s wonderful. I hope you will continue to write poems and surprise us,” said Mizuta, who is also the chief of the Josai University International Modern Poetry Center, last Friday when the prizes were awarded.
Five students won Shorei commendation awards, while seven students took home Kasaku (excellence) awards.
The Shorei award winners were Jonas Engesvik, a Norwegian and graduate student of Josai International University (JIU) majoring in global communications; Andrew Campana, a Canadian studying at Waseda University’s School of Culture, Media and Society; Ukrainian Adelina Torubara, who is studying at JIU’s Faculty of Media Studies; Luo Lijie of China, who is working on a doctorate in comparative culture at JIU; and Xiao Bolun, a Chinese man studying at Josai University (JU).
Kasaku award winners were Hungarian students Vivien Nemeth of JU and Anita Bandzi of JIU and Chinese students Chen Xuan of Hokkaido University, Huang Xiaoshuang of the University of Tokyo, Liu Muyang of JIU, Tu Chuong of the Tokyo World Japanese Language School and Chen Lu of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Speaking on behalf of the award winners, Campana said, “Receiving such honorable awards, we will keep walking the path of Japanese language learning and writing poems in Japanese.”