The Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s convoy to Japan concluded their meetings with the Japanese judging panel appointed to assess the works contending to win the Award’s “Arabic Culture in Other Languages” prize in its ninth session of 2014/2015.
The assembly of professors, scholars and academics from a number of prominent Japanese universities together with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s convoy went through the submitted works towards evaluating the nominations and submit their reports reflecting their independent and expert views.
The judging panel joins eight professors from a number of Japanese universities, including Eiji NAGASAWA, professor, the University of Tokyo, Yuzo TAGAKI, professor emeritus, the University of Tokyo, Yasushi KOSUGI, Professor, Kyoto University, Toru MIURA, professor, Ochanomizu University, Masatoshi KISAICHI, Sophia University, Akira USUKI, professor, Japan Women’s University, Yoshiko KURITA, professor, Chiba University, Tetsuya OTOSHI, professor, Waseda University.
The Award’s delegation was headed by Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Secretary General of the Award, in addition to Mr. Sa’eed Hamdan, Award’s General Manager, and Dr. Mas’oud Dhaher, member of the Award’s Scientific Committee.
“This meeting gains paramount significance as it follows our decision to accept works in Japanese in our category for “Arabic Culture in other Languages”, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, the Award’s Secretary General, commented. “The new category proved to be a success as it attracted substantial response from academics and cultural researchers around the world, especially from Japan”, he added.
The category honors this year all written works in Japanese, Spanish and English languages about the Arabic civilization and culture. Bin Tamim explained that the formulation of this new category stems from the Award’s solid belief in the immense value that foreign academic & research works add on to the affluent heritage of Arabic Culture and Literature, as they bring in a unique perspective that enriches the cultural dialogue and plays a key role in bridging the gap between civilizations. Besides Japanese, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award accepted works in English and Spanish for the ninth session.
Parallel to the meeting, representatives of the Japanese universities praised the Award’s initiative to accept literary works in Japanese, stating that it has been well received by Japanese cultural community, being a step towards reinforcement of the Arab-Japanese ties and the promotion of Arabic cultural and literary studies in far eastern countries.
Since the establishment of the “Arabic Culture in Other Languages” category, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has accepted works of exceptional writers, intellectuals and orientalists in English, Russian, Italian, Chinese and German and named Mario Leverani from Italy, Marina Warner from UK winners of the category in 2014 and 2013 respectively. The Award has also named a number of internationally renowned cultural figures winners of the cultural personality of the year award including Spanish Professor Pedro Martinez Montavez, Chinese Orientalist Chung Jikon and Professor Denys-Johnson Davies.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s first installment was in 2007, intended to promote scholarship and creativity in Arab culture. It carries cash prizes totaling Dhs7 million – with Dh750,000 per winner (equivalent to USD 204,217,50) in all eight categories (including the Arab Culture in non- Arabic languages category). The winners also receive a certificate of merit and a Gold Medal.