On 14th October 2020, “Novel the Tales of Ise: Narihira” written by Ms. Nobuko Takagi, published in May 2020 by Nikkei Publishing Headquarters of Nikkei BP (President & CEO: Naoto Yoshida; Minato-ku, Tokyo) won the 48th Izumi Kyoka Literature Award (sponsor: Kanazawa City).
“Novel the Tales of Ise: Narihira” took the form of a serial novel in the evening paper from January to December 2019, as the very first novelized version of a thousand-year-old biography “The Tales of Ise,” the life story of a well-known poet from the Heian period, Narihira Ariwara. She has woven with originality the story of the presently known playboy’s “miyabi” lifestyle from a tale made of 125 waka poems and explanatory notes. Despite its publication in the midst of the announcement of the state of emergency due to COVID-19, this novel has become popular among the public, reaching fifty thousand cumulative circulation (15th October 2020). It has gained a wide range of readers regardless of gender or age group, and has even been installed to the Japanese textbooks used at Kaisei Junior High School.
The Izumi Kyoka Literature Award is a long-established prize first found by Kanazawa City in 1973 commemorating the centennial of a great writer Kyoka Izumi, born in the city. Presently, there are six members on the selection committee, Mr. Hiroyuki Itsuki, Mr. Tomomi Muramatsu, Mr. Kohzaburo Arashiyama, Ms. Mieko Kanai, Ms. Eimi Yamada, and Ms. Risa Wataya, who all expressed their appreciation for the “romantic creation that inherits Kyoko Izumi’s literary world.” There were comments from the selection committee members stating that the unique yet beautiful literary style using the original waka (Japanese poems) was one of the key aspects for this novel winning the award.
This award is a new recognition of “Nihon Keizai Shimbun serial novels” quality along with previous awards which have been won by publications by Nikkei Publishing Headquarters (formerly Nikkei Publishing Inc.), namely the Naoki Prize, won in the second half year of 2012 by “Tohaku” (Ryutaro Abe), the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts won by “The Fig Forest”(Mariko Koike), Shiba Ryotaro Award by “Horse of Tatar”(Noboru Tsujihara), and Osaragi Jiro Award by “The Steel Tower Family.” Nikkei Publishing Headquarters will continue to issue more publications of “Nihon Keizai Shimbun serial novels”, and we look forward to your subscriptions and purchase.