All the essays that passed the preliminary round were equally excellent. This is because all the applicants expressed their emotions based on individual experiences. The way in which each writerfs life was illuminated by Braille depended on his or her environment, gender, age and occupation.
The highest award this year went to gLife Has Soundh by Mr. Minoru Furukawa. When Mr. Furukawa was thirteen, the light was taken from his life in an instant. He was a movie fan who had been wholeheartedly looking forward to seeing the movie, Shane. Then, for him, a curtain was pulled in front of the screen.
I myself saw Shane when I was a student and was deeply moved by the sadness of the last scene. I felt Mr. Furukawa and the boy in the movie had something in common.
\Shane, come back!
I recall the last words by the boy. Mr. Furukawa epitomizes this moviefs representative audience. I felt that, though he has never actually seen the movie, he has in a sense seen it better than anyone else. He listened to the theme song, and, with his unique sensibility, conjured wonderful images of a trumpet in yellow, a flute in silver, and a pianofs high tones glittering like dew. The devotion of his wife and his interaction with his daughter shined through in this short essay as well. It clearly depicted a strong family scene \one that is slowly becoming lost in Japan.
Ms. Nobuko Iwamoto, who won the runner-up award with gThe Remarkable Advance of Braille Books,h overwhelmed me with her enthusiasm to finish in three days the Braille books of two Akutagawa Literary Award writers. It was refreshing to see her family reading the same stories and exchanging opinions after seeing her trials with Braille. I felt that Ms. Iwamoto, like Mr. Furukawa, was portraying the right kind of family image that modern-day Japan has been losing sight of.
gThe Chorush by Ms. Kayoko Sasaki, chosen for a Highly Commended award, had an excellent expressive quality. The tempo and rhythm perfectly matched the construction of the piece. I found it both pleasing and amusing that she expressed the ups and downs of the essay so skillfully.
Mr. Akio Miyafs gThoughts While Walkingh was the polar opposite of Ms. Sasakifs essay. It conveyed the suffering of navigating onefs life with a white cane, but, reading between the lines, I understood that his confidence and pride surpassed the suffering. I sensed, and was deeply impressed by, his strong spirit.
Mr. Takahiro Sakamoto, in his gLooking Forward to the Shining Eyes,h expresses infinite kindness. I was amazed at the mental shift that helped him gradually identify with innocent children.