I did my M.A. thesis on the Akutagawa Prize in the 1980s! My research focus then moved back about two hundred years, but I’m still interested in the Akutagawa Prize, and try to keep up on the books that win it. Here you’ll find short reviews (including, yes, plot spoilers) of some of them. They’re not very scholarly, and they certainly haven’t been peer reviewed, but they may be useful as a starting point.
I began writing these as a graduate student; a few years after finishing my M.A. I decided to keep up on the Akutagawa Prize in real time, and try to work my way back through past winners. Between 2008 and 2015 or so I posted most of these at my now-abandoned pseudonymous culture blog, Sgt. Tanuki’s Lonely Hearts Club Blog (in case there’s any doubt, Sgt. Tanuki is me, and I’m neither a sgt. nor a tanuki in real life). All the write-ups from around 2007 to the present were written within a few months of the book receiving the prize, and I’ve reposted them here with few if any updates. Write-ups for books older than that were at various times after this project began in 2007 or so.
Since all of these were meant for a blog, and more than that for my own personal reference, the tone is informal and maybe more unabashedly critical than it should be. Still, I find them a useful resource for classes, so here they are.