H Prize / Japan Poets Association

The Latest Prize

Winners of The H Prize and Modern Poet Prize -2021-

71st H Prize. Kei Ishimatsu

Born in Oita prefecture, Japan.
Lives in Fukuoka prefecture.
2019: Won the 57th Gendaishi Techo Award
2020: Published Coniferous Forest.

39th Modern Poet Prize. Yuriika Suzuki.

Yuriika Suzuki was born in Gifu prefecture, Japan, in 1941. She lives in Tokyo. She grew up in Taiwan from the age of 3 to 6.She posted her poem to the literary magazine, Modern Poetry La Mer, in 1983, which was the first issue. She won the first the La Mer Rookie Prize following year.She has published the numbers of books, Mobile, Love (36th H Prize), I Hear the Violin of the Sea (3rd Shi-Ka Bungaku-kan Prize), The Women who carries the Buildings (nominated for 9th Gendaishi Hana-Tsubaki Prize),Collected Poems of Gendaishi Bunko. She has also published three books of poems in 2020, which areWind Blown from Saido in August, Regard Me as a Dream in September, The Boy Navy Blue and the White Flower who is on the Bike in October. She is a responsible editor of the magazine titled something.

“A Message from the Winner” Kei Ishimatsu

              I am very surprised to win the H Prize and having unexplainable feeling at the same time. I remember I started writing poems around 2013. Soon after I started writing, I have felt strong sense of honor to Takashi Inuzuka, a winner of the 19th H Prize. It is quite something to win the same prize that Mr. Inuzuka won. I would like to express my gratitude to my friends who love literature since I would not have won this prize without them.

              If I summarize my thought of writing Coniferous Forest roughly, it would be “the relativity of this world.” René Magritte mentioned her mysterious work The Masterpiece or The Mysteries of the Horizon that “The nature of the world is unity, and this unity is capable of being separated. Since this paradox is too enormous, it is a masterpiece.” As he said, I believe the phenomenon of our lives is full of something mysterious. For instance, our lives belong to irreplaceable individual’s one-time only experience, which is the absolute unity. At the same time, it is the absolute infinity, in other words, “it is the experiences we all share.” For me, it is a profound fact that many creatures in the world see things with eyes. It is persuasive that Cyclops who see things with an eye is a mythical creature.

              I am fascinated that the poetry can touch the lives full of contradictions. Speaking of the contradictions, I think nothing is more contradictory than writing poetry. Writing poetry is to express phenomenon which cannot be expressed by language, no matter what. It is the great contradiction to try to reach the unexperienced essence by our language. However, it may make us to peek our overall lives.

              Reading back Coniferous Forest, I think the word “wind” frequently appears throughout the collection. I vaguely decided my direction of the book when I was looking at the trees fighting against the wind. What is the meaning of writing poetry in the fundamental unthoughtful world? I am still thinking about it and will keep asking to myself “Even if you become oil / can you carry the deep thoughtfulness,” which is the line from Mr. Inuzuka’s poem, “Oil.” I will keep studying literature. Thank you.

“A Message from the Winner: The Invisible People” Yuriika Suzuki

              I am very happy to win the prize.

              As we get older, we may get depressed sometime, like suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and allergic dermatitis, or taking my family member to the hospital. But life is also full of happy things.

              Recently, my friends, Eiko Tanazawa and Yasue Tajima, who are publishing little magazine something with me, published my works of 29 years into three books of poems. One of them, Wind Blown from Saido, won the prize, which surprised me.

              I asked myself why I wrote about Hiroshima and the world as a main theme in the collection. I found it very difficult to answer.

              I was born in Gifu Prefecture Hospital in October 30, 1941. Two months after I was born, the Pacific War begun. My father went back and forth between Japan and China for a very long time, probably five or seven years. When I turned into three, I moved to Taiwan with my family. The ship our family was on somehow arrived Taiwan, but other two ships were sunk in the sea by the bombing of the U.S. I spent my life in a hot beautiful island until six. My father worked in an energy company.

              I wrote about Hiroshima because I have some memories of my childhood that I spent some time with two of my friends from Hiroshima together in Roppongi. Another memory is that I travelled to Hiroshima from Tokyo. I touched to the wall of Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or Genbaku Dome. After years later, I visited Hiroshima to have a speech and my friend, who has written poems, welcomed me kindly. I have not thought about “Hiroshima,” but I sensed it somehow like a child. That is how I kept writing poems one by one.

              I think I wrote something most difficult things to put into words. I felt something to the invisible people who lived in the city, something outrageous.


[Past awards]-2020-

70th H Prize. Kentaro Takatsuka. “The Amount”

38th Modern Poet Prize. Kiwao Nomura. Saudade in the Twilight.


70th H Prize.  Kentaro Takatsuka

Born in São Paulo in 1974.
Lives in Osaka.
 Goodbye Japan. 2009. (Shichosha)
 Camellia Japonica. 2010. (Shichosha)
 Japon Snow Peas. 2014. (Shichosha)
 Sound & Color. 2016. (Shichigatsudo)
 The Amount. 2019. (Shichigatsudo)
 Involved in Poetry Magazine Aa and Ultra.

37th Modern Poetry Prize. Kiwao Nomura

Poet. Born in Saitama Prefecture, Japan, on October 20, 1951. His books of poetry : The River Paralyzing, Repeated Roams, Under the Sun without Character (won the 4th Rekitei Newcomer Prize), Breeze Distribution (won the 30th Takami Jun Prize), New Inspiration (won the 21st Gendaishi-Hanatsubaki Prize), Rainbow under the Cover of Townclothes is a Snake, Spectacles, The Day laid bare (won the 50th rekitei Prize), Deja-Vu Avenue. His critical works : Manual of writing of contemporary poetry,  Movement, Rhythm and Vertigo, Hagiwara Sakutaro (won the 3th Ayukawa Nobuo Prize). His poems have been translated into several languages. In USA, Spectacle & Pigsty (Selected Poems of Kiwao Nomura, Tranlated by Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander) won the 2012 Best Translated Book Award in Poetry.

 “A Message from the Winner” Kentaro Takatsuka

It is my great honor to receive H Prize. I am also much obliged because there are numbers of poets who I admire on the list of prize winners.

I assume it was a difficult selection because of Covid-19. I am very thankful to the selection committees and all the people who was involved in this selection.

 Ten years have passed since I published the first book of poems, and I was thinking to find a closure to my work. That feeling drove me to write The Amount. This is the fifth book of poems. I have written all of my works with strong proud and feelings since the first book. For the latest one, from the edition to the layout, my publisher went along with what I wanted to do without complaints. All the processes became my feeling for this collection. Kentaro Takatsuka ended by this.

 I spent my days vaguely without writing poems almost for a year. However, I have never spent my days without thinking poetry, for better or for worse.

 To put it simply, what I write is the poetry. That is my conclusion. In a confident way, the only poetry is the one I write.

 Poetry must be written by me. I understood the meaning of receiving the prize as so.

 “A Message from the Winner” Kiwao Nomura

  It is my great honor to receive Modern Poet Prize. I started writing something like poetry since I was a teenager. I have kept writing poetry almost half a century. I can’t stop thinking this is tremendous. If I think of cost performance, maybe I could do something different like start running a business, studying, or writing prose. I am very thankful to the selection committees because receiving the prize relieves my suffering.

  Twilight Saudades is my 24th book of poems, assuming, but I could not finish this by myself. “Twilight Nostalgia,” which consists of the prime part of the book, is the collaborative work with Jiro Miyazaki, an artist. “Open the Threshold” is the collaborative work with Kenji Kitagawa who is also an artist. Octavio Paz defined the inspiration as “the expression of foreignness of human composition.” I felt his words in both the collaboration. I am truly thankful to them.

  I would like to put an explanation for the title of the book. “Saudades” is my favorite time or space. Dusk, twilight zone, time between a dog and wolf, Omagadoki. I think what I want to say is apparent as I list the different way of expressing “twilight.” If I google the word “saudades,” the song by Porno Graffiti (Japanese rock band) comes up on top of the search list. However, it is originally a Brazilian dialectal way of saying “saudade.” “Saudade” has an unique and deep meaning which roots on the land of far west Portuguese as Japanese “Mono no Aware” has. Therefore, it is not an easy word for Japanese to use. But I think, in general way, we can use the word like this. “Saudades,” it seems like our existential feeling in twilight, dusk, or my existential feeling which is coming to the twilight of my life.


[Past awards]

Modern Poet Prize for the Year (2019/3/3)

The information on the prize for this year is on this page.

● 69th H Prize Selection Committee: Takuya Fukuda (Selection Committee Chair), Eiko Ikeda, Yuko Itoh, Mitsugu Saito, Eiji Takahashi, Masuo Tanimoto, Kyoko Nogi.
● 37th Modern Poet Prize Selection Committee: Yutaka Hosono (Selection Committee Chair), Shoichiro Aizawa, Katsuhito Okamoto, Reiko Koyanagi, Yoishi Sasaki, Kazuyuki Hosomi, Noriko Wakayama.

69th H Prize
Nobunari Mizushita. About the Forgetfulness. Shicho Publishing

56th The Modern Poetry Magazine Award
Current Address: Kuki, Saitama.
Birthplace: Machida, Tokyo.
Birthday: 1984/3/26
Academic History: Saitama Prefectural Kitamoto High School.
Prize: 56th

37th Modern Poetry Prize
Mitsugu Saito. Sunset Seller (Shicho Publishing)

Saito was born in Fukushima in 1954. After he graduated from Ibaraki University, he taught Japanese in prefectural high school. In 2011, the year Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster happened, he was working in the high school in Odaka of Minami-Soma, Fukushima, which was 14 kilometers north from Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. The area was closed for hazardous area.
In 1987, he achieved 40th Fukushima Literature Prize for The Strange Vessel (Shigaku Publishing). He has published Cape Ryugu (Shicho Publishing, 2010), If You were Dusts (Shicho Publishing, 2013), and more. He is the member of literary magazines, Rekitei, Hakuaki, Kujakusen, and Kokuriko Hinageshi. He is also a chairman of Fukushima Poets Association. He is currently living in Iwaki.

*The ceremony was held on May 5th at Hotel Metropolitan Edmont in Idabashi, Tokyo.

A Message from the Winners
69th H Prize: Nobunari Mizushita.

A Message from the Winners
For Achieving H Prize

 I would like to express my special thanks of gratitude to the publishers in Shichosha for publishing About the Forgetfulness. Especially to Sari Izumi who designed the great front cover from my photograph and Takami Demoto, an editor, who respected and encouraged me throughout the work. I am also thankful of two poets, Masayuki Kishida and Taishi Hirose who wrote the words for a bookmark. Also I would like to thank those who send replies to my urgent questions, read my poems and wrote to me. Now I am remembering all the words while I am writing this message.
 This would be a great opportunity to express my thanks and respects to the people other than poets. Mr. Taro Akasaka, a movie critique, Mr. Ken Kuzuu, a movie critique and a director, Ms. Yo Kuzuu, a bookshop clerk, Soushi Suzuki, a writer and a researcher of French literature, professor Junji Hori in Kansai University, a filim researcher, and Ms. Natsuka Kusano, a director. All of them weaves the “words” with the serious eye and the gentle sense. If I could spare more space, I wanted to thank to more people. I was influenced by a lot of poets, and I was encouraged by the kind words.
 In 2016, German director Klaus Wyborny Retrospective in May and French director Jean-Claude Rousseau Retrospective in November was held in Kobe, Kyoto, and Tokyo. It was Mr. Daisuke Akasaka who introduced the great film directors to Japan eagerly. Both the directors visited Japan for the retrospectives. Syrakus by director Wyborny was on the screen in Kobe Planet Film Archive. It can be said that is the movie about the poetry reading. A poet Durs Grünbein is the co-producer of the film. Wyborny and Grünbein worked together for other works as well. However, it is not know among Japan. I would like to cite their short phrases from my diary. I wrote down them down in the talk show after the film in Kobe. “So as the music, the essence of the movie is to vanish” said Wyborny: “Not to capture the image. The image to be captured by itself” said Rousseau. Their voices echoed inside of me. It may be my easy illusion that their voices shook the words to be woven by me as if a waterdrop on the edge of a leaf gets the unexpected oscillation. By touching the varieties of poetics and feeling the distance to the unapproachable image which cannot be expressed by words, I will not stop writing.
 At last, it overlaps the message when I achieved the Gendaishitecho Prize, but I would like to express my special thanks to my mother. This will not change forever. I would also like to be thankful to my elderly brother. Thank you so much.

37th Moder Poet Prize: Mitsugu Saito

A Message from the Winner
From “that day”

 I was a selector of H Prize on the day of second selection. The selection for H Prize finished in peace though it took a bit long. After the selection, I was told that I received the prize at the door the conference room from the chair of Modern Poet Award. To be honest, I had not seen coming. Gradually, I was beginning to realize that I have received the Prize. However, it was a responsibility to the Prize rather than a joy.
 First I thought of the late Tohru Hoshino while he was still alive, who was a professor of English literature, poet, and my mentor. He recommended me to read Shinobu Origuchi, folklore studies by Kunio Yanagita, and The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer when I was a freshman. He also appreciated my poems and encouraged me to write.
 He appreciated my first book of poems Looking for “Treasure Island” citing the afterward by Chuya Nakahara in Selected Poems of Rimbaud. He advised me to pursue “the principle of life,” which is “the state of being mixed with things and names, senses and ideas, and subject and object” by citing Chuya’s words. That is the tip to find “Treasure Island.” I started “looking for Treasure Island” from here, which is to pursue the principle of mythological poetic reconstruction.
 I still remember his words to the Nuclear Disaster of the crisis of modern civilization.
It is such an absurdity that Science Civilization, which is just the practical technology, destroys the indigenous culture. It overlaps with the scene of the disaster area of the Nuclear Disaster. The people in the area were taken away their home forcibly. High science technology deprives of and destroys the indigenous culture and history instantly. The disaster area is in pain now even though eight years has passed since “that day.” How can we raise the voice the reality? In Fukushima, there are the areas which are forbidden to visit. The people cannot come back to their home yet. The contaminated soil is put in the black flexible containers, which are left to be disposed. It may be said that the soil is the metaphor of the agony in disaster area.s
 I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Norio Awadu who wrote the commentary on a bookmark of If You were Dusts and on a obi of Sunset Seller. Mr. Awadu is a director of Kusano Shinpei Memorial Literature Center in Iwaki where I currently live. It was a great happiness for me to have Mr. Awadu near.
 At last, I would like to express my deep thank to Ryoko Shindo, Chairman, the members of the board, the selctors, and the readers who were sympathized by the words of disaster areas. Thank you.

[The Selection for 69th H Prize]

306 members out of 1047 voted for H Prize. 243 valid votes, 53 white ballots, 10 invalid votes. Voting rate was 29.2%. The first selection committee was held at the same place.
Top ten nominated works.
1.Takako Sasaki. False Tempura. Doyo Bijutsu-sha. 40 votes.
2, Masako Wada. Shifting the Pivoting Foot. Shichou-sha. 9 votes.
2. Rimiko Takashima. Having the Sea. Taibou-sha. 9 votes.
4, Junko Noda. However, You Shall Ignore the Volume of the Object. Monochrome Project. 8 votes.
5. Hajime Hattori. Carving the Crescent. Shoshi-Yamada. 7 votes.
6, Michiko Morita. Violet Mountain. Hokou- sha. 6 votes.
7, Atsushi Ishikawa. The House is at Beyond the Mountain. Shichou-sha. 5 votes.
7, Junko Ohki. The Song I Not Know. Shichou-sha. 5 votes.
7, Saburo Ogawa. Violet. Shichigatsu-doh. 5 votes.
7,Nobunari Mizushita. About the Forgetfulness. Shichou-sha. 5 votes.
The board recommended those ten works to the selectors. (Originally, eight works are to be recommended, but since four works gained the same votes, ten works are recommended this time.)
The member of the selectors are Eiko Ikeda, Yuko Itoh, Mitsugu Saito, Eiji Takahashi, Masuo Tanimoto, Kyoko Nogi, and Takuya Fukuda. Mr. Fukuda was chosen to be a chair in the first selection committee meetings. Three more books of poems were added as the selectors recommendation.
・Kamiyu Ogyu. “ASAP Not Being Lonely.” Shichou-sha.
・Iu Koshimayama. “Lili Hair.” Shichou-sha.
・Yuki Nagae. “The Absent City.” Shichou-sha.
The winner was selected in the second selection committee meeting held at Waseda Hohien at March 2.

Nominated Works for 37th Modern Poet Award.

[37th Modern Poet Award]
 Total number for the votes was 313. 275 valid votes, 30 white ballots, 8 invalid votes. Voting rate was 29.9%.
Top eight nominated works.
1. Kakuryo Tominaga. The Flash of Darkness. Gekichiku-sha. 16 votes.
2. Naoko Asou. The Sea of Boarder. Shichou-sha. 15 votes.
2. Mitsuo Kitabatake. The Flower of Pleasure. Shichou-sha. 15 votes.
4. Ken Niinobe. The Confession of the Man Who Pets Insects. Shichou-sha. 12 votes.
5. Hiroko Okajima. Love of Dressmaker. Shichou-sha. 11 votes.
5. Konami Kotaki. Fading Out. 11 votes.
7. Mitsugu Saito. Sunset Seller. Shichou-sha. 9 votes.
8. Toshiko Sawada. Sa Bu Ra. At the Shore. Henshu-kobo. 8 votes.

The 8 books of poems were chosen for voting by the board. The runner-ups collected 7 votes: Osamu Kamite, How to Put the Tassel Away (Hangi sha); Tsugio Takahashi, The Bosom of Rock (DoyoBijutusu Shuppan Hanbai); Minako Nagashima, There Was a House (Sora Tobu Kirin sha); Taisei Yamamoto, Love, Fire, and Poetry (Hokoh sha).
The Selectors are Shoichiro Aizawa, Katsuhito Okamoto, Reiko Koyanagi, Yoishi Sasaki, Yutaka Hosono, Kazuyuki Hosomi, and Noriko Wakayama.
In the first meeting, Mr. Hosono was chosen for Chairman. The 3 books of poems were added to the nominees as the selectors recommendation.
– Minako Nagashima, There Was a House (Sora Tobu Kirin sha)
– Osamu Kamite, How to Put the Tassel Away (Hangi sha)
– Kiyo Matsukawa, The Edge of the Dream (Shichou sha).
The winner was selected in the second meeting held at March 2nd at Waseda Hoshien.
The selection process and the comment for H Prize and Modern Poet Prize will be published in Modern Poetry 2019.
I would like to express my special thanks for the cooperation of the board members . Thank you for your continued support.
(Michiyo Nakamoto)