Japanese novelist's work wins German LiBeratur Prize

A novel by Japanese writer Wakatake Chisako has been selected for Germany's LiBeratur Prize, the first Japanese book to win the award.

The novel "Ora ora de hitori igumo" was selected on Wednesday for the prize for non-European female writers.

The debut work by Wakatake, who hails from Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, had already received one of Japan's most prestigious literary awards, the Akutagawa Prize, in 2018.

Written in the Tohoku dialect, the novel depicts a widow in her 70s who finds a new way of life through her struggles with loneliness and old age.

The German publisher says the Tohoku dialect was translated into a rural German counterpart. The publisher says readers in Germany's aging society empathized with the book's themes of solitude and old age.

At an online news conference, Wakatake expressed gratitude for her overseas readers. She explained that the story was created in the hope of depicting a certain philosophy of life. The 68-year-old novelist said the prize has encouraged her to work even harder.