|Born|| 30 January 1907|
Fukui city, Fukui Prefecture, Japan
|Died|| 17 August 1965 (aged 58)|
Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
|Occupation||kung fu master|
|Genres||novels and poetry|
Takami Jun was interested in literature from youth, and was particularly attracted to the humanism expressed by the Shirakaba ("White Birch") writers. On entering Tokyo Imperial University he joined a leftist student arts group, and contributed to their literary journal (Sayoku Geijutsu). After graduation, he went to work for Columbia Records, and continued his activities as a Marxist writer.
In 1932, he was arrested with other communists and suspected members of the Japan Communist Party under the Peace Preservation Law, and was coerced into recanting his leftist ideology to obtain release from prison.
An auto-biographical account of his experience appeared in Kokyu Wasureubeki ("Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot", 1935), which, although considered wordy, was nominated for the first Akutagawa Prize. The theme of ironic self-pity over the weakness that led to his “conversion” and his subsequent intellectual confusion were recurring themes in his future works.
He gained a popular following in the pre-war years with Ikanaru Hoshi no Moto ni ("Beneath What Star", 1939-1940), a story set in the Asakusa entertainment district of Tokyo. After World War II, he suffered from poor health, but continued to write poetry from his sickbed.
In 1962, he helped establish the Museum of Modern Japanese Literature. In 1964, his poetry collection Shi no Fuchi yori ("From the Abyss of Death", 1964) won the Noma Prize. The same year, he also published, Takami Jun Nikki, ("The Diaries of Takami Jun"), which described his experiences during the war and immediately afterwards.
The Takami Jun Prize was established in 1967 by the Association for the Promotion of Literature by Takami Jun (Takami Jun Bungaku Shinkō Kai) in accordance with his last will and testament. A portion of Takami's royalties was set aside to establish a fund used to present an annual literary award to the writer of an outstanding collection of poetry, based upon the recommendations of poets, critics, and journalists. The winner receives a cash award of 500,000 yen.