Jun Ikeido has won the Naoki Prize for seasoned writers for his work “Shitamachi Rocket,” a story about a small rocket component factory in an old downtown area.
The selection committee, however, didn’t name a winner for the Akutagawa Prize, awarded biannually to promising writers of serious fiction.
Ikeido, a 48-year-old native of Gifu Prefecture and a former bank employee, received the award Thursday for his novel about a small factory trying to win an order to manufacture a key component for a Japanese rocket.
“I am genuinely happy. I hope people will be encouraged afresh to strive by reading my novel,” he said at a news conference in Tokyo, referring to the people affected by the March 11 disaster.
Novelist Shizuka Ijuin, a member of the selection committee for the ¥1 million prize, said Ikeido described those who deserve to be saved and the viewpoint makes the book outstanding after the March 11 disaster.
For the Akutagawa Prize, neither of the two finalists — To Enjo and Akito Inui — won a majority of votes, according to selection committee member Eimi Yamada.
“There was no novel that showed that the author devoted something in himself or herself to it,” Yamada said.