The public may be less than thrilled to see Japan’s latest major book prizes awarded to people who are ‘not TV talent or celebrities,” commentators say, but that is ‘as it should be.’
Every two years, honors are given for outstanding work in English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. A record number of submissions—235 across the twelve categories—marks the 2016 awards.
‘I was abandoned in the ocean,’ writes Japanese poet Sagawa Chika in her poem Ocean Angel, in the translation by Sawako Nakayasu, whose The Collected Poems of Sagawa Chika has won a PEN Award.
Figures show 2015 book sales in Japan pulling ahead ‘slightly’ by comparison to magazine sales. One runaway bestseller might deserve as much credit as softer sales in the fashion media.
Chennai’s high court decides in favor of author Perumal Murugan and freedom of expression, denying a petition to ban his writing because some local readers found it offensive.
Challenges to the industry in Taiwan are debated, from educational shortcomings to ‘poor adaptation to the digital era among Taiwanese publishers and bookstores.’
Since 2011, the Taiwan museum’s translation project has seen 101 books translated for international audiences, ‘national treasures to be enjoyed by our foreign friends.’
‘Heavy discounting will destroy market order, and idiotic populism will come to reign,’ says Kinokuniya’s Hiroshi Sogo, whose Tokyo base aggressively supports English and other-language work.
Free distribution of study materials by publishers in Japan is seen as an attempt to influence schools’ choices of textbooks.
‘Our kids are reading sillier books,’ says an educational leader in Malaysia, where a debate is ongoing about the quality of literature popular with young people.