mine no momijiba
mata hitotabi no
O autumn leaves
on Mount Ogura’s peak--
if you have a heart,
before falling you might wait
for the next imperial excursion.
148th Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes announced (January 16, 2013)
The 148th Akutagawa Prize will be awarded to Kuroda Natsuko for her story ab-sango (a-b-san-go, published in the September 2012 issue of Waseda Bungaku [issue no. 5]). Kuroda, who is 75 years old, is the oldest writer ever to receive the award. Although she earlier wrote for coterie magazines, her last published fiction dates to the 1970s. The 148th Naoki Prize will be shared by Asai Ryō, for Nanimono (Who Is It?, published by Shinchōsha) and Abe Ryūtarō, for Tōhaku (Hasegawa Tōhaku, published Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha). The presentation ceremony will be held on February 23 in Tokyo.
Death of Ichikawa Danjūrō (February 3, 2013)
Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjūrō XII died today of pneumonia in a hospital in Tokyo, where he had been hospitalized since last December. Danjūrō was stricken with an acute leukemia in 2004 and had received a bone-marrow transplant from his sister in 2008. Following closely the death of the 57-year-old Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII on December 5 of last year, Danjūrō's unexpected demise has sent shock waves through theater circles and Japanese society as a whole. Danjūrō was 66 years old.
Kabikiza theater reopens following reconstruction (April 2, 2013)
The fifth incarnation of the Ginza Kabukiza theater reopened today after close to three years of reconstruction. The facade closely resembles that of the previous Kabukiza (built in 1951), but a 29-story building now rises at the rear. Sixty-three kabuki actors took part in a parade in Ginza on February 27 to commemorate the impending event. A special series of performances (known as kokeotoshi kōen) has also been inaugurated and will continue until March 2014. An introduction to the new facilities can be found on the Kabukiza home page.
Printed copies of Murakami Haruki’s latest novel pass the million mark (April 18, 2013)
The print run of Murakami Haruki’s Shikisai o motanai Tasaki Tsukuru to kare no junrei no toshi (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, published by Bungei Shunjū) has passed one million copies, just a week after the novel’s publication. This is five days faster than was the case for Book 3 of 1Q 84, which Murakami published in 2010, and Bungei Shunjū has now added two extra printings to the original printing of 800,000 copies to meet the demand for the novel by Japanese readers.