STOCKHOLM – Four Japanese writers including novelists Junichiro Tanizaki and Yukio Mishima were nominees for the 1964 Nobel Prize in literature, according to documents released by the Swedish Academy.
The documents, made available at Kyodo News’ request after a customary 50-year period of secrecy, also showed that Tanizaki made it as far as the six-candidate shortlist for the prize that year.
Tanizaki had previously been named to a shortlist of five writers for the 1960 award, indicating he had drawn consistent attention from the Nobel committee during the period.
A total of 76 writers received nominations for the 1964 Nobel Prize in literature, with novelist Yasunari Kawabata and poet Junzaburo Nishiwaki rounding out the four candidates from Japan.
Tanizaki dropped out of contention when the shortlist was narrowed to two — French novelist and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who was ultimately named the winner but declined the award, and Russian novelist Mikhail Sholokhov, who won the following year.
The first Japanese winner of the Nobel Prize in literature was Kawabata in 1968. Tanizaki passed away in 1965.
The names of Nobel Prize nominees and information regarding the selection process are kept private for 50 years after the winners ae announced. All four Japanese nominated for the award in 1964 had also been under consideration the previous year, with Mishima reaching the six-writer shortlist.