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Novelist Hiroki Takahashi has won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for up-and-coming authors, while the Naoki Prize for popular fiction has been awarded to writer Rio Shimamoto, the selection committee said Wednesday.

“Okuribi” (“Ceremonial Fire”) by Takahashi, 38, depicts boys engaging in violent games at a junior high school in Aomori Prefecture that is on the verge of closure.

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