Shimazaki Fujimura finds an autograph letter addressed to Hiroshi Kikuchi September 9 at 4:47 p.m.
In his later years, Shimazaki Fujimura, known for his literary works such as Wakanashu and The Commandments, found a letter asking Hiroshi Kikuchi to give the prize of the literary prize to his friend Akiaki Tokuda, who was sick at the time. Experts say, “It is a material that understands how the people of the literary world interacted well.”
This letter was purchased at an Internet auction by Koki Kawashima, president of Hideaki University, who collects materials for modern literature, and was judged to be an autographed letter by poet and novelist Tomura Shimazaki, who was active from the Meiji to Showa era, addressed to writer Hiroshi Kikuchi in January 1918.
In the letter, over the prize money of the Noma Literary Award, which was supposed to be given to two people, Fujimura and Akiaki Tokuda for their many years of achievement, he said, “Why don’t you just leave it to Akitsuki-kun?” and told Kikuchi, who served as a selection committee member for the award, that he would like to give the money in half.
According to Professor Kunihiko Nakajima of Waseda University, who is well-informed of modern literature, Fujimura and Akiaki have been interacting with each other for many years as writers of “naturalist literature” that portrays things as they are, and the contents of the letter show that they care about Akitsuki, who was in an economically difficult situation due to illness at the time.
Fujimura died in August 1943, seven months after he wrote the letter, and Akitsuki died in November of the same year, and it is unusual to find a letter from Fujimura in his later years who had come to distance him from the literary world.
Professor Emeritus Nakajima says, “It is a valuable material that has not been known until now, and I understand the drama of human relations how people interacted with each other in the literary world.”
I received a prize, but I didn’t attend the award ceremony.
According to President Kawashima and Professor Emeritus Nakajima, this year’s Noma Literary Award was “no one applicable,” but the selection committee members, Hiroshi Kikuchi and others, proposed to give prizes to two people who had contributed to the literary world for many years: Fujimura and Akiaki.
Each prize is 5000 yen, which is about seven times the average annual income at the time.
In fujimura’s wife’s memoir, there is a description that Hiroshi Kikuchi begged Fujimura to receive the prize, and it was eventually given to two people.
President Kawashima said, “Fujimura decided to accept it because he thought it would be difficult to receive Akitsuki if he didn’t receive it, but it was so unpleasant that his wife attended the award ceremony on her behalf because of illness. There have been many such talkes at a later date, but this is the first time it has become clear that Fujimura had refused, and we can see that he cared about Akitsuki’s economic situation until his last years.”