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Japanese Studies Scholar Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit Awarded Prize from the Japanese National Institutes for the Humanities

№ 381/2014 from Nov 03, 2014

Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit, a professor of literature and cultural studies at Freie Universität, has been selected to receive the NIHU Prize in Japanese Studies. Awarded by the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU), a research institute corporation in Japan, the NIHU Prize recognizes the achievements of outstanding scholars of Japanese studies from overseas. Hijiya-Kirschnereit was selected for the prize because she is one of the most important figures among international researchers on Japan. Through translations, literary research, and comparative studies, she has made a significant contribution to the international understanding of Japanese literature. In particular, Hijiya-Kirschnereit rendered outstanding services with her analysis and definition of shishosetsu, the central literary narrative in the Japanese Modern, and in establishing this form as a genre. As the president of the European Association for Japanese Studies, she also made significant contributions to the promotion and development of research on Japan and to the promotion of young scholars of Japanese studies. The NIHU Prize includes a trip to Japan. The award ceremony will take place on December 11, 2014, in the Japan Academy in Tokyo.

The National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) is a corporation of research institutes in Japan, which makes large-scale facilities and repositories of information available to the involved institutions. It is made up of six research institutes in the humanities that are devoted to such fields as linguistics, literary studies, anthropology, history, area studies, cultural geography, and research on the natural environment. Their reputation is similar to that of the Max Planck Institutes in Germany or state institutions with strong research departments.

The NIHU Prize is one of the few Japanese prizes for non-Japanese researchers in the field of Japanese studies. It is awarded to scholars for outstanding achievements in the fields of Japanese literature, language, history, anthropology, culture and the natural environment. Potential candidates are selected in a competitive nomination process among the participating institutions. The NIHU Prize is being awarded for the fourth time in 2014. The previous recipients were Ronald P. Toby from the University of Illinois (USA), Augustin Berque from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (France), and Lin Wen-yueh, emerita of the National Taiwan University.

Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit is a professor of Japanese studies and the director of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She is also a winner of the Leibniz Prize, the highest endowed award in Germany, and in 1995 was awarded a German Federal Cross of Merit for her many achievements as a mediator of Japanese culture.

Further Information

Prof. Dr. Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit, Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies within Japanese Studies, Institute of East Asian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-53856, Email: