Edwina Palmer first in New Zealand to receive Inoue Yasushi Award

Thursday 12 July 2012, 11:39AM
By Victoria University

Victoria University Japanese Programme Director and Associate Professor Edwina Palmer is the first New Zealander to receive the prestigious Inoue Yasushi Award for her article entitled ‘A poem to carp about? Poem 16–3828 of the Man'yoshu collection’.

'A poem to carp about? Poem 16–3828 of the Man'yoshu collection' is an analysis of the puns and double entendre of the Man'yoshu poem. The article appeared in The Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. The poem, composed by a Court poet as part of an impromptu poetry game, is thought to date from about 700 CE.

"Up until now it has been thought to be a nonsense poem, but I discovered it to be a witty and obscene satirical social commentary on the contemporaneous relationships between men and women, and between aristocrats and outcasts," says Edwina.

The Inoue Yasushi Award is awarded annually for Outstanding Research in Japanese Literature in Australia and New Zealand to the best refereed journal article or book chapter published in English during the previous year.

Inoue Yasushi (1907–1991) was one of Japan’s most acclaimed and prolific novelists of the 20th century. The author’s two daughters, Mrs Ikuyo Uraki and Mrs Yoshiko Kuroda, and his nephew, Mr Masanori Ohtani, established the Inoue Yasushi Memorial Foundation to fulfill the author’s wish to disseminate research into Japanese literature internationally.

Edwina was presented the award last month at a ceremony in Sydney from the author’s eldest daughter, Mrs Ikuyo Uraki.