SBP Blog

'A Shameful Life' wins William F. Sibley Memorial Subvention Award for Japanese Translation

Michael Palmer - Monday, July 16, 2018

Although we haven't officially announced its publication, A Shameful Life: Ningen Shikkaku, a new translation of the classic by Osamu Dazai has already won a translation award! 

We are thrilled to share that Mark Gibeau's upcoming translation of Osamu Dazai's most famous work Ningen Shikkaku (人間失格)has won the prestigious William F. Sibley Memorial Subvention Award for Japanese Translation.

A Shameful Life: Ningen Shikkaku 


This new translation of Osamu Dazai’s last published—and most enduring—work (1948; Japanese title: Ningen Shikkaku) offers a revelatory portrait of a young man’s struggle to survive in a world he cannot comprehend. His doomed love affairs and constant fear of exposing his true self haunt the pages of his “journal” and portray a slow descent into madness—approximating the life of the author himself. Osamu Dazai (b. 1909) retains an enormous following in Japan today and is as famous for his darkly introspective novels as for his lighthearted children’s stories. Mark Gibeau is Senior Lecturer in the School of Culture, History and Languages at Australian National University College of Asia and the Pacific.

The William F. Sibley Memorial Subvention Award for Japanese Translation is an annual competition coordinated by the Committee on Japanese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago. Sibley was Associate Professor Emeritus in East Asian Languages & Civilizations and a renown scholar and translator of Japanese literature. He is best known for his work, The Shiga Hero, first published in 1979 by the University of Chicago Press, which introduced Western readers to the fiction of Shiga Naoya, one of Japan’s foremost modern writer. In keeping with Sibley’s lifelong devotion to translation and to the place of literature in the classroom, up to $3000 is awarded each year as a publishing subvention for translations of Japanese literature into English. 

 Read the full release from the University of Chicago.

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