Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The allusive 2008 Akutagawa vintage

Chinese writer Yang Yi is the first foreigner, non-native speaker of Japanese, to receive the literary Akutagawa Prize: The 44-year-old Yang’s award-winning work is titled “Tokiga nijimu asa”, meaning “a morning when time blurs".The book is set during and after China’s Tiananmen massacre and the demonstration attempts for democratization in 1989. The story tells of a Chinese man who lived through those times and later moved to Japan, still holding on to his ideals. ” As a foreigner I have written novels and I am thrilled to have been recognized in this way,” Yang, 44, teaches Chinese language in Japan.

In the past the Akutagawa Prize has been awarded to Korean writers living in Japan and happens in the context of the pressure imposed by China, on its neighbors and on western nations, to sanitize all foreign criticisms about China's striking record on the human rights. Japan chose trying to ease tensions with China, this price nevertheless is coming as an intelligent, allusive, surprise for many Japanese politicians, the right right side... Already, it attracted harsh criticisms from some tenors of the political life in Tokyo. The 2008 prize is offered the day after the International Criminal Court of the Hague launch arrest on China's supported Sudanese president Béchir who is accused of killing his population, risking to end his days in jail.

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