The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Literature (日本文学振興会) in Japan announced on the night of July 14 that Taiwanese writer Li Qin-feng’s (李琴峰) newly published work "Higanbana ga saku shima (彼岸花盛開之島)" won the Akutagawa Prize, Japan's most prestigious literary award.
"Higanbana ga saku shima," a literary novel imbued with elements of science fiction, takes place on a fictional island between Japan and Taiwan where the spoken language is the mixture of the two. Women on the island are responsible for religious rituals, political affairs, and administration in addition to the existence of a language that only women were allowed to learn.
Out of the five finalists at this year's Akutagawa Prize, three were nominated for the first time. This is the second time Li Qin-feng was shortlisted for the Akutagawa Prize since winning the award for her novel "Count to Five and the Crescent Moon (倒數五秒月牙)" in 2019.
Li Qin-feng, who attended the press conference, expressed her hope that more readers will read her work. Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan stated that in order to encourage Li, it had commended her for her achievement on Facebook.
Upon hearing about Li's award, Director Alice Wang Shu-fang (王淑芳) of the Ministry of Culture's Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo went to the press conference to congratulate Li on behalf of Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), ROC representative to Japan and the Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te.
Li Qin-feng has assisted the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo by organizing lectures for Taiwanese writers. Her long-term creative activities in Japan have allowed the Japanese public to witness Taiwan’s rich cultural content and value. Director Alice looks forward to more works by Li for both readers in Taiwan and Japan to enjoy.
Li Qin-feng moved to Japan in 2013. In 2017, Li Qin-feng received the 60th Gunzō New Writers' Award (群像新人文学賞) for Excellence with her Japanese novel "Hitorimai (獨舞)." In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Japanese literary award Akutagawa Prize (芥川龍之介賞), for her novel "Count to Five and the Crescent Moon (倒數五秒月牙)." In 2021, she once again won the Geijutsu Sensho Shinjin Award (芸術選奨文部大臣新人賞) for her Japanese-language novel "Porarisu ga furisosogu yoru (北極星灑落之夜)."