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Winning the 19th Seicho Matsumoto Award at the youngest age in its history!
Living as a professional writer with inspiration, motivation, and determination!

Chisato Abe

Chisato Abe was the youngest winner in the history of the 19th Seicho Matsumoto Award. Though this accomplishment by a university student attracts attention, she notes, "I cannot yield to opinion. Wining this award, the judges say, 'We want to bet on her possibility,' so I feel too anxious and have no room to be happy being the youngest winner of the award."

Chisato says she was a writer when she began to take notice of what was going on around her. In kindergarten, she tried very hard to talk of her imaginary stories to parents, friends, and teachers and sometimes expressed their contents as pictures. Her first piece was written in first year at elementary school. It was written on a large sheet of paper. She has written stories ever since, always expressing that she would be a writer.

Chisato talks about her commitment to writing novels

Her award-winning work, 'Karasu ni Hitoe wa Niawanai' (Bungeishunju) is in a genre called, 'Japanese fantasy.' As Chisato considers that Japanese fantasy requires thorough research to ensure historical verisimilitude, entering university was the definite condition. "University is a treasure trove of knowledge. We have professors, and the WASEDA University Library has a vast collection of material. WASEDA is the ideal environment." Her school life puts priority on study. As what she learns can be totally used in her novels, she says studying is real fun. "To understand Japan, I think it is necessary to learn about China and the Korean Peninsula that have affected it. I am majoring in trans-culture and learning at Professor Kimiko Kono's Chinese characters and culture seminar.

It was in fact her second try for the Seicho Matsumoto Award. "I applied the first time when I was a second year student in high school, but was not in the least successful. But I was not discouraged. I just truly realized my lack of expressive power. To take advantage of that failure, I analyzed what was wrong with my work over and over again."

To become a professional writer, she says inspiration, motivation and determination is essential. "Everyone has inspiration, but you cannot become a true professional unless you have the motivation to write with a determination to make it into a page-turner. The stage to turn imagination into text as if drawing a picture is fun, but at the stage trying to make it appealing text, you feel pain. I believe that without overcoming this, you cannot become a professional author."

Through university life, the core of the stories or what she wants to communicate to readers has become clear. "As what I want to say has become definitive, my uncertainty is gone. I think I have developed resolve rather than confidence. With a firm core, all I have to do is tenaciously explore expressive methods that communicate."

Regardless of any given talent, it is not easy to earn a living by writing, but Chisato is determined to make a living as a dedicated writer. "As I have two things I want to communicate through my stories, my target is to at least complete two serials. To realize this, I have to continue publishing books, which must sell. It is like treading a thorny path. But this is the only thing I can do!"

Chisato never mentions exactly what she wants to convey through her stories. She wants it to be felt by the readers. We cannot help reading the stories Chisato is devoting to her life.

Japanese paper collage of her characters

She was very moved when she saw the cover of her book for the first time

Ideas notebook. The concept of her award-winning novel is in the notebook on the top.


Chisato Abe

Born in Gunma Prefecture. Graduated from Maebashi Girls' Senior High School. 3rd year, School of Culture, Media and Society. Her interest is Japanese paper collages giving shape to her images about novels, collecting writing pads, etc. She is a 1st dan in judo. Her club activity at high school was the Musical Club, showing the different sides of her. The author she respects is J.R.R. Tolkien of the Lord of the Rings fame. Her favorite food is dried persimmon.