2012 Prizewinners & critique

2011 Prizewinners & critique

2011 Prizewinners & critique
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Grand Prize:『gray to men』Tomotake Ishikawa

Grand Prize:『gray to men』Tomotake Ishikawa

Excellence Prize:『Meet Your Suicide Undertaker』Ban Ohki

Excellence Prize:『Meet Your Suicide Undertaker』Ban Ohk

Special Acknowledgement Prize:『Thanks Night』Tatsuo Nemoto

Special Acknowledgement Prize:『Thanks Night』Tatsuo Nemoto

総評

総評

Prizewinner for 2nd Glolden Elephant Award is "gray to men" (pronounced gray toh men) written by Tomotake Ishikawa. The Excellence Prize is awarded to "Meet Your Suicide Undertaker" by Ban Ohki. And, The Special Acknowledgement Prize is awarded to "Thanks Night" by Tatsuo Nemoto.

All five final nominees were powerful and superb genre novels, from which the total of six final juries from domestic and abroad discussed intensely to select the prizewinner.

Based on the fundamental criteria, which includes the excellence in entertainment—providing interest, curiosity, and sensation—and universality—providing stories that international audience of this day can relate to--, juries have selected the above three. With even more incessant debates, they have chosen "gray to men" as the prizewinner of this year.

Also this year the jury has considered two other titles as too unfortunate to be excluded from the selection; therefore, "Meet Your Suicide Undertaker"and "Thanks Night" were given The Excellence Prize and The Special Acknowledgement Prize respectively.

As per "Thanks Night" the story may not be quite the Golden Elephant Award's core curiosity, compositional skills, writing skills, and descriptive skills are so outstanding that the Japanese and US publishers are considering to publish it as the Special Acknowledgement piece.

最終選考委員による選評

最終選考委員による選評
Grand Prize:『gray to men』Tomotake Ishikawa

A genre novel with a touch of sweet revenge as in Alexandre Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" and adventurous mystery stories of Maurice Leblanc's "Arsène Lupin", revitalized into the present world.

Not only negative phenomenon such as insidious bullying, continuous abuse, increasing number of suicides are rampant in every angle of society, hopeless and oppressed youth who have no jobs, no future, no social pension returns but chased by taxes are feeling strong unfairness against politicians and federal institutions. The author's message of this novel shall widely be read among these youth and general audience with great empathy.

Somewhat retro-flavored "gray to men" is a story of vengeance and social upheaval executed by riveting character "gray" and unique characters to color the story with dense background. The great surprise in the end, which is the most unpredictable of all finalists, is born out of flawless, carefully calculated plot of the mastermind "gray". This avenger-turned-bandit "gray" could become a new heroic figure in this unfair world.

Large-scaled story, fresh sensation after read, and settings and narratives are all dead-on entertainment formula, the universal language for the genre. Also, make a note that pros and cons among juries (if any) against this novel would be easily turned into unanimous vote for prizewinner selection if given the knowledge of the age of the author be 26 years old.

Ryotaro Sakuma, a sales person at jewelry dealer, is determined to take his own life away due to harsh bullying by a colleague and the shop owner. One day he encounters a mysterious "gray" costumed man who soon becomes his mentor. The gray man had saved many lives from comitting suicide and formed a gang under his true "objectives" and robs banks and fancy jewelry stores. Gray's real name is Toshihiko Yuzuki whose wife and children had been raped and murdered by underage criminals who were released after only 10 years of jail time. Yuzuki had to come to terms with incapable justice system, but he hated the society and the nation. The nation where only the few enjoy the power of money and control the society, and where the malice to commit a crime is lightly punished…. Therefore, gray had gathered wealth by series of robberies to make an action. Destroy Bank of Japan and Japan Mint so that the nation as system will no longer be effective. The date is set on Christmas Eve.

Tomotake Ishikawa

Born in 1985.
Employee at a medical corporation.

Author's Comment

Writing used to be out of my element. I remember, in junior high-school, I had hard time writing book reviews as school assignments in Japanese class, and in fact I can hardly recall any book titles from back then.
But in high school, I encoutered fiction, lost myself, and started writing when I realized. I cannot be more thankful for this award. I will devote mself as a writer.

Excellence Prize:『Meet Your Suicide Undertaker』Ban Ohk

The author proposes a new approach towards many novels under compelling "suicide" topics. His perspective though would not simply settle his messages on what is good or just. Rather, he takes readers to a long journey of different points of view and values via variety of episodes, and by doing so the author suspends any easy conclusions and opens up a room for answers of readers' own. The flow of story-telling is reasonably laid down well in a good rhythm. One can also value the overall tone of episodes is pretty cheery for a suicide-themed story as well.

The main character Tsukumo the suicide undertaker and psychiatrist, whose attitude is condescending, has his own way of persuading general readers by implying that "easy sympathy is the worst enemy of suicide candidates." In the final jury session, this full-bodied rewarding reading experience kept itself as grand prizewinner. The author's skill to fully articulate the suspense of Tsukumo's final intention until the very last is evaluable. A hint of humor and charming aspects of characters can easily bring birth to a following sequel, however in need of more thoroughly depicted characters. Author is gifted and prospective to start a new career as writer, and all juries are wishing for his future success.

Ban Ohki

Born in 1978. Television Writer.

Author's Comment

Thank you for the Excellence Prize! This one goes out to my family, relatives, colleagues, friends, and to all whom I had a pleasure to meet in my life. Without them, I am not standing in this place right now with the honor of the prize.
"Be modest, be humble, and be careful" will be with me all times, and I cherish this first step as a novelist, I will do my best to seek this career.

Special Acknowledgement Prize:『Thanks Night』Tatsuo Nemoto

Hard, sparkling black humor piece with deep human nature all exposed. With superb composition and narrative skills, one can enjoy the entire story without a blink. The episodic drama of each character is well laid out and keeps engaging readers' attention to crave for more.

Moreover, in this society of endangered safety of food, the author's stance to burn out the linkage between human desire and abundance of food has its sensible meaning.

The author handles and shuffles this topic under multiple perspectives and almost successfully reaches a golden synthesis of Juzo Itami, Natsuo Kirino, and Agatha Christie.

The overall content being very grotesque and hopeless that it was a difficult pick for the grand prizewinner, but Thanks Night deserves all other votes to be awarded the Special Acknowledgement Prize.

Tatsuo Nemoto

Born in 1965. Company employee.

Author's Comment

I like to express my deepset gratitude to juries and all staff members. Whenever I step in the basement floor of a department store, an array of gourmet foods draw my gaze.
And, I always feel an impulse in myself to devour all of them at sight at once. Driven by this primitive temptation, I created this story with visual adaptation in mind.

  • Selected for final Qualification
  • Selected for 2nd Qualification
Organizer:Golden Elephant Award Committee