Fujino wins Akutagawa award; Sakuragi gets Naoki prize

Kyodo

The selection committees for two prestigious awards for Japanese literature selected Kaori Fujino as winner of the Akutagawa award and Shino Sakuragi as laureate of the Naoki prize on Wednesday.

Fujino, 33, won the 149th award for her work “Tsume to Me” (“Nails and Eyes”), which depicts the behavior and sentiment of a man’s lover as seen by the man’s 3-year-old daughter.

She made her debut as a novelist in 2006 after working part-time at a publishing house and won a best newcomer award the same year.

Fujino, a Kyoto native, earned a master’s degree at the city’s Doshisha University.

Sakuragi, 48, won the 149th Naoki prize for her collection of seven short stories titled “Hotel Royal,” describing various people associated with a love hotel in Kushiro, Hokkaido.

Born in Kushiro, Sakuragi won a best newcomer award in 2002 after working as a court official.

Fujino and Sakuragi will each receive ¥1 million in prize money at an awards ceremony in Tokyo in late August.

The Akutagawa award was founded in 1935 in memory of renowned Japanese novelist Ryunosuke Akutagawa, while the Naoki prize is named after writer Sanjugo Naoki. Both are presented semiannually.