Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Kenzaburo Oe's award, presumably named the 'Oe Award' (but we won't know just by reading the published news on it) was given to short story writer Yu Nagashima reports The Japan Times. The article is a miserly 100 words long, supplied by Kyodo News, a wire service.

Another version, published on the Calibre Web site, includes an additional 20 words informing us that:

Oe and Nagashima are scheduled to appear in a talk show at Kodansha's headquarters building in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward on May 18.

That's two days from now. You will not find further details about this literary award on the 'Net. I guarantee no news will appear in the wake of the event.

"The work was handpicked by Oe from literary works published in Japanese in 2006," Kyodo informs us. But what will happen once Oe is deceased, is nowhere stated. The gigantic publishing house Kodansha "created the award in 2005 to promote Japanese fiction overseas".

Thanks to The Literary Saloon for the heads-up.

Kodansha is the biggest publisher in Japan with, the Wikipedia tells us, 167 billion yen (A$1.67 billion) in revenues for 2003. (By comparison, New York-based Random House had revenues in 2005 of A$2.605 billion.) Presumably Kodansha International, founded in 1963, will do the publishing. The company has a capitalisation of 50 million yen. Typically, their Web site contains minimal information.

Lack of information about Japan and events that take place there is problematic. It's not just English-speakers that are kept in the dark. For the Japanese, access to adequate volumes of quality information of all types is a fraught endeavour.

This is probably one factor contributing toward the repeated success of the Liberal Democratic Party in national elections. It certainly causes frustration among foreign observers, like myself, who wish to be informed about events in the archipelago.

No comments: