ariake no tsuki to

   miru made ni

Yoshino no sato ni

fureru shirayuki


   In the gathering light

one might take it for the moon

   lingering in the morning sky--

the white snow falling

on the dwellings of Yoshino.


-- Sakanoue no Korenori

Poem 31 from One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets

(See notes and more poems.)


Literary News

150th Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes announced (January 16, 2014)

The 150th Akutagawa Prize will be awarded to Oyamada Hiroko for Ana (Holes, published in the September 2013 issue of Shinchō). The 150th Naoki Prize will be shared by Asai Makate, for Renka (Love Poem, published by Kōdansha) and Himeno Kaoruko, for Shōwa no inu (Shōwa Dog, published by Kentōsha; English subtitle: Perspective Kid). The presentation ceremony will be held in mid-February in Tokyo. A number of articles were published in newspapers and on the web reflecting on the significance of the 150th awards. Novelist Shimada Masahiko, for example, in the January 12 evening edition of the Asahi Shinbun singled out his four favorite Akutagawa Prize winners -- Abe Kōbō, Kojima Nobuo, Ōe Kenzaburō, and Nakajima Kenji -- while also noting that a number of major postwar writers are missing from the list of winners: Dan Kazuo, Takami Jun, Nakajima Atsushi, Agawa Hiroyuki, Shimao Toshio, Ariyoshi Sawako, Yoshimura Akira, Tsushima Yūko, and Murakami Haruki.

Letter written by Masaoka Shiki discovered (March 29, 2014)

A letter written by haiku poet Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) to Ioki Hyōtei -- like Shiki, a haiku poet from Matsuyama in Shikoku -- has been discovered in the archives of the Gotoh Museum in Tokyo. The brush-written letter, measuring about 17cm in height and 180cm in length, was found inside a paulownia-wood box stored in the museum’s annex. In the letter Shiki expresses his disappointment that the newspaper he had been editing was ceasing publication. The first quarter of the letter had previously been printed, but the rest had been a mystery until now