Itoyama gets Akutagawa; Higashino receives Naoki

Akiko Itoyama on Tuesday was named the recipient of the 134th Akutagawa Prize for promising new fiction writers, while Keigo Higashino was given the 134th Naoki Prize for experienced writers of popular fiction.

Itoyama, 39, received the semiannual award on her fourth nomination. She made her literary debut in 2003, winning the Bungakukai Prize for new writers. The following year, she received the Kawabata Yasunari Prize for Literature, typically given to more seasoned writers.

The Akutagawa Prize was awarded for the short story “Okide Matsu” (“Waiting off the Coast”), which appeared in the September edition of the Bungakukai journal.

It depicts the delicate friendship between a man and a woman, work colleagues who promise to destroy the data on the other person’s computer if that person dies first.

Higashino, 47, won the Naoki Prize for “Yogisha X-no Kenshin” (“The Devotion of Suspect X”), about a genius mathematics teacher who comes up with a plan to cover up a crime committed by a woman he is in love with.

Higashino made his writing debut in 1985 and was awarded the Edogawa Rampo Prize for best mystery and has had several best-sellers, including “Himitsu” (“Secret”). He has been nominated for the Naoki Prize six times.

Both prizes — named after novelists Ryunosuke Akutagawa and Sanjugo Naoki — were founded in 1935.

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