Japan-based author first Taiwanese to win Akutagawa Prize

08/29/2021 08:20 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
Japan-based writer Li Kotomi. CNA photo Aug. 27, 2021
Japan-based writer Li Kotomi. CNA photo Aug. 27, 2021

Tokyo, Aug. 27 (CNA) Japan-based writer Li Kotomi (李琴峰) was awarded the Akutagawa Prize on Friday, becoming the first Taiwanese to capture the prestigious award recognizing talented up-and-coming authors.

She was picked for her work "An island where red spider lilies bloom," which was first introduced in the March edition of the Japanese literary magazine Bungakukai.

It tells the story of a matriarchal society on a fictional island between Taiwan and Japan, which poses questions about gender equality.

During her acceptance speech, Li said she owed her life to knowledge and literature, through which she has been able to deal with anger and pain, given that she did not come into this world of her own will.

Li said she hoped the award could become yet another miracle to help her continue her life, just like the main character in her award-winning novel, who escaped death because of a miracle.

The young author, who was born in Taiwan in 1989 and moved to Japan to study in 2013, also expressed the hope of being able to leave several stunning novels to the world before her death.

Li said she felt grateful for her multicultural background, as the language and culture she grew up with in Taiwan and her further nurturing in Japan have "undoubtedly become the flesh and blood of my literary works."

"Both Taiwan and Japan are important places to me," she said.

Shuichi Yoshida, a former Akutagawa Prize winner and one of the award's judging panel committee members this year, said he liked Taiwan a lot and felt honored to be able to evaluate Li's works and see her win the prize.

Li has the gift of telling stories in different languages, creating a world of literature that is far bigger than he had imagined, Yoshida said, and he encouraged Li to continue writing novels.

(By Yang Ming-chu and Lee Hsin-Yin)


    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.