Yesterday I had the privilege to hand over this year’s Cikada Prize to the Japanese poet Mizuta Noriko. It was a dignified ceremony attended by over one hundred guests to our residence. The prize was created in 2004 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Swedish writer and poet Harry Martinson, who received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1974.

The Cikada Prize goes to poets who write in Chinese, Korean or Japanese. The reason being that Harry Martinson had a great interest in East Asian literature and was also considered to have been influence by it. So, the prize can also be desribed as a way to show appreciation for the rich East Asian poetry and its influence on Swedish poetry. The latest Swedish Nobel laureate in literature (2011) was  Tomas Tranströmer, who also seem to have been inspired by East Asian literature.  He has at least published several haiku in Swedish.

After the Cikada award ceremony we arranged a jazz concert in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tokyo. The pianist was the famous jazz musician Emil Viklický, who was accompanied by the Japanese base player Ishikawa Shota.

The evening went under the theme “Literature meets music”.