Mishima Yukio Prize

« Back to list
Back to list


Mishima Yukio Prize

A prize established in 1988 by the Shinchosha Publishing Company in memory of the author Yukio Mishima (1925–70) and his body of work. Shinchosha published Mishima's Sea of Fertility tetralogy, the final volume of which was issued posthumously, and was the publisher with which he had the closest ties during his life.

The prize is given annually to a work of fiction, criticism, poetry, or drama that "breaks new ground for the future of literature." In practice, awards have generally gone to literary fiction by relatively new writers, with an occasional nod to criticism. Exceptional works at the popular end of the literary spectrum have also been selected, however, and the prize committee surprised the literary world in 2004 by awarding the prize to veteran author Toshihiko Yahagi. As a new-writer award for literary fiction, it contrasts with the more traditional Akutagawa Prize by frequently spotlighting works of an avant-garde or highly controversial nature?as exemplified by the very first award, which went to Genichiro Takahashi for Yuga de kanshoteki na Nippon yakyu (Elegant and Sentimental Japanese Baseball) in 1988. Natsuko Imamura, who received the prize in 2011, was a complete unknown when she published Kochira Amiko (Amiko Here) the previous year and also won the Dazai Osamu Prize.