Noma Prize for Literature

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Noma Prize for Literature

A prize first awarded in 1941 by the Noma Service Association (now the Noma Cultural Foundation), which was established in accordance with the last wishes of Seiji Noma (1878–1938), founding president of Kodansha Ltd., one of Japan's largest publishing houses. Noma earned the nickname "Magazine King" for the many periodicals he launched.

At its inception, the prize was awarded to authors for their body of work, and in its first year included categories for scholarship (going to physicist Hideki Yukawa, who later received a Nobel Prize) and art. Awards were suspended for a number of years after World War II but resumed in 1953, at which time the focus changed to individual works of fiction or literary criticism. The vast majority of recipients have been well-established writers of literary fiction. The list of past winners serves as a directory of Japan's most noted writers, including Nobel laureates Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburo Oe. One author, Shotaro Yasuoka, has been honored twice.

The annual winner is customarily announced in early November, together with the winners of the Noma Prize for New Writers and the Noma Prize for Children's Literature. The awards ceremony in mid-December has become a seasonal tradition that brings the literary year to a close.