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Fukushima poet Ryoichi Wago wins French award for tweets issued on 2011 disasters

Kyodo

A poet in the city of Fukushima has won a French award for a collection based on Twitter feeds he started shortly after the March 2011 mega-quake, tsunami and nuclear disasters unfolded.

Ryoichi Wago, 48, and Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., which published his collection, said Friday they had been notified about winning the foreign-language poetry category of the inaugural Prix de poesie de la revue Nunc, which is sponsored by French cultural magazine Nunc.

Wago is the first winner.

“It has been six years since the disaster, and I hope this award will provide opportunities for my words to reach many more foreign people and help them know about the disaster and Fukushima,” Wago said.

Wago began sending Twitter feeds on March 16, 2011, five days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that triggered three core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

His poetry collection, “Shi no Tsubute” (“Pebbles of Poetry”) was published in Japan the same year. A French translation by Corinne Atlan, who has also translated Haruki Murakami’s books, came out last year.

A selector’s comment, quoted by Tokuma Shoten, said Wago’s “poetic language was profound even under the tragic circumstances regarding the Fukushima nuclear accident.”

The award ceremony will be held at a literature festival in France from July 19 to 20, Tokuma Shoten said. Nunc began publishing in 2002.