Announcing 2022 Berkeley Japan Prize Recipient

August 25, 2022

Yu MiriThe Center for Japanese Studies welcomes internationally acclaimed novelist, playwright, and essayist YU Miri to the campus as the recipient of the 5th Berkeley Japan Prize for her genre-defying work as an author. YU Miri, a citizen of South Korea, was born in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki, Japan, in 1968 and grew up in Yokohama. Her 1996 novel Family Cinema received the Akutagawa Prize, Japan’s most prestigious literary award, in 1997. The English version of her recent novel Tokyo Ueno Station (translated by Morgan Giles) won the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature in the U.S. 

The works of Yu Miri have brought critical attention to the challenges of socioeconomic inequality, ethnic discrimination, gender discrimination, and everyday precarities that continue to shape the life of the minoritized and traumatized, while conveying the scale of historical trauma through their intimate focus on the suffering of individuals and families. YU’s 2004 novel End of August, whose protagonist was modeled after her marathon runner grandfather, vividly describes the injustice, indignity and hardships that he, his family, and many other Korean people had to suffer during and after the Japanese occupation of Korea. Yu’s Tokyo Ueno Station was conceived as a link between the pain of homeless people in Tokyo’s Ueno Park, whose families disintegrated after working away from home for too long, and the pain experienced by the evacuees after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident of March 11, 2011. Many of her recent works trace the beforehand and aftermath of the triple disaster of the earthquake, tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear accident, through the diverse perspectives of the survivors as well as the deceased.

While YU’s books depict harsh realities and the pain of individuals under extreme conditions, underlying her writings is a sense of hope. By advocating for individual freedom and dignity, her books continue to give courage to many people around the world, both young and old, who struggle to survive and fight against social injustice, exclusion, and inequity. She currently lives in Odaka, Minami-soma City in Fukushima, where she runs a bookstore/café called Full House, in the area recovering from the triple disaster.

The CJS Berkeley Japan Prize is a lifetime achievement award from our center given to an individual who has made significant contributions to enriching the understanding of Japan on the global stage.

At the event on September 30 (5:00-6:30PM at the David Brower Center), YU Miri will deliver a short acceptance speech. This will be followed by a conversation with Karen Tei Yamashita, a celebrated Japanese American writer and professor emerita of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

For more information on the event and to register, please click here



柳美里氏は、1968年、茨城県生まれ、神奈川県育ち。1996年に発表した「家族シネマ」は、翌年に第116回芥川賞を受賞。2014年に出版された『JR上野駅公園口』は、Tokyo Ueno Stationというタイトルで2019年にモーガン・ジャイルズ氏によって英訳され、全米図書賞翻訳部門を受賞しています。





Last updated September 23, 2022