Hideo Levy

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Hideo Levy
BornIan Hideo Levy
(1950-11-29) November 29, 1950 (age 69)
Berkeley, California
Notable awards

Ian Hideo Levy (リービ 英雄, Rībi Hideo, born 29 November 1950)[1] is an American-born Japanese language author. Levy was born in California and educated in Taiwan, the US, and Japan. He is one of the first Americans to write modern literature in Japanese, and his work has won the Noma Literary New Face Prize and the Yomiuri Prize, among other literary prizes.


Levy was born in Berkeley, California on 29 November 1950 to a Polish-American mother and a Jewish father.[1] His father named him after a friend who was imprisoned in an internment camp during World War II.[2] Levy's father was a diplomat, and the family moved around between Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States. He graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor's degree in East Asian studies, and later received his doctorate from the same school for studying Kakinomoto no Hitomaro.

While at Princeton, Levy studied the Man'yōshū. His English translation of the text won him the 1982 U.S. National Book Award in the Translation category (a split award).[3] He has referred to the Man'yōshū scholar Susumu Nakanishi as his mentor.[4] After working as an assistant professor at Princeton, he moved to Stanford University and taught there. He later left and moved to Tokyo.[5]

Levy gained attention in Japan as the first foreigner to win the Noma Literary Award for New Writers, which he received in 1992 for his work Seijōki no Kikoenai Heya.[1] In 1996 his story Tiananmen was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize. For his contributions to the introduction of Japanese literature to foreign readers he was honored with a Japan Foundation Special Prize in 2007. In 2017 he won the Yomiuri Prize.[6]




  • 『星条旗の聞こえない部屋』Seijouki no kikoenai heyaKodansha 1992 / Kodansha Bungei Bunko 2004)
    English translation: A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard, trans. Christopher D. Scott (Columbia University Press, 2011)
  • 『天安門』Ten'an'monKodansha 1996)
  • 『国民のうた』Kokumin no utaKodansha 1998)
  • 『ヘンリーたけし レウィツキーの夏の紀行』Henrii Takeshi Rewuittsukii no natsu no kikouKodansha 2002)
  • 『千々にくだけて』Chidi ni kudaketeKodansha 2005 / Kodansha Bunko 2008)
  • 『仮の水』Kari no mizuKodansha 2008)

Literary criticism and essays[edit]

  • 『日本語の勝利』Nihongo no shouriKodansha 1992)
  • 『新宿の万葉集』Shinjuku no man'youshuuAsahi Shimbun 1996)
  • 『アイデンティティーズ』AidentitiizuKodansha 1997)
  • 『最後の国境への旅』Saigo no kokkyou he no tabiChuou Koron Shinsha 2000)
  • 『日本語を書く部屋』Nihongo wo kaku heyaIwanami Shoten 2001)
  • 『我的中国』Wareteki chuugokuIwanami Shoten 2004)
  • 『英語でよむ万葉集』Eigo de yomu man'youshuu (Iwanami Shinsho 2004)
  • 『越境の声』Ekkyou no koeIwanami Shoten 2007)
  • 『延安 革命聖地への旅』Enan kakumei seichi he no tabiKodansha 2008)
  • 『我的日本語 The World in Japanese』 Wareteki Nihongo: The World in Japanese (Chikuma Shobou, 2010)

Man'yōshū scholarship[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Watanabe, Teresa (November 19, 1992). "Outsider Captures Soul of Japanese". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  2. ^ "Nihongo Institute Newsletter" (PDF). 3. March 1999. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "National Book Awards – 1982". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
    There was a "Translation" award from 1966 to 1983.
  4. ^ Levy, Hideo (February 11, 2010). The World in Japanese (Speech). Stanford University. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Posts Tagged '"Ian Hideo Levy"'". Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  6. ^ "読売文学賞 小説賞にリービ英雄「模範郷」" [Yomiuri Prize (Novel) goes to Hideo Levy for Mohankyo]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). February 1, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  7. ^ "野間文芸新人賞 過去受賞作" [Noma Literary New Face Prize Past Winning Works] (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  8. ^ Japan Foundation, Japan Foundation Award, 2007
  9. ^ "読売文学賞" [Yomiuri Prize for Literature] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved September 26, 2018.

External links[edit]