On July 16th, Naoki Matayoshi, a member of the comedy duo Peace, was awarded one of the most prestigious literary awards in Japan, called the Akutagawa Prize, for Hibana（火花）, his first novel.
A novelist, Keisuke Hada, was also awarded the Akutagawa Prize for his novel, Scrap and Build （スクラップ アンド ビルド）. Although the Akutagawa Prize has long history stretching back 80 years, this was the first time it has been presented to a comedian. There have been cases of musicians winning this prize, including Tsuji Hitonari in 1996 and Ko Machida in 2000. Matayoshi formed Peace with his partner Yuji Ayabe. They are represented by Yoshimoto, Japan’s largest comedy agency. Matayoshi has a great love of literature, and has often referred to his admiration for novelists such as Osamu Dazai. He is an avid reader, having read more than 2000 books.