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Merck Sponsors "Kakehashi" Literature Prize in Japan

  • 2013/10/30

Award launched in cooperation with the Goethe Institute recognizes translators and authors for building bridges between Germany and Japan. The "Kakehashi" Prize reflects Merck's long tradition of promoting literature that today spans multiple countries.

Photo: Kohei314/flickr

Darmstadt, September 30, 2013 – Merck today announced a new literature prize in cooperation with the Goethe Institute Japan based in Tokyo. As of 2014, the Japanese "Kakehashi“ literature prize will be awarded to translators and authors who have successfully built literary, linguistic or cultural bridges between Japan and Germany in the fields of business and science. The prize, which will award € 10,000 to an author and € 10,000 to a translator, is going to be granted every two years. Its aim is to promote German contemporary literature in Japan. Publishers, translators and writers are invited to apply for the award and it is open to all genres, from poetry and lyricism to drama. The jury consists of Japanese Germanists, German Japanologists as well as representatives from the Goethe Institute.

"German contemporary literature has so far only been known in expert circles," said Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck, during the announcement of the prize in Tokyo. "Therefore, with the 'Kakehashi' Prize we have deliberately decided to recognize authors and translators who are using literature to overcome borders. The long and successful history of our company has taught us that a willingness to take risks as well as pioneering spirit and vision, in other words to cross frontiers, are essential to solve global challenges through innovations."
The promotion of literature has a very strong tradition at Merck and is an elementary component of corporate responsibility. Since 1964, Merck has been granting in Darmstadt its best-known literature prize, the German Johann Heinrich Merck Award for literary critique and essay once a year together with the German Academy for Language and Poetry. In 2003, the company launched the "Premio Letterario" in Italy, which recognizes authors for connecting literature and science. In addition, since 2012 Merck has been granting the Merck Tagore Award in India to promote German-Indian cultural exchange. The Merck Tagore Award is named after Asia's first recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Rabindranath Tagore. Some of his works were translated into German by Elisabeth Wolff-Merck, a member of the Merck family.

Merck has 900 employees in Japan and has operations at six locations. Merck products have been sold in Japan since the early 20th century and the company opened its first subsidiary there in 1968. Apart from Japan's importance as a sales market, it is also a very important production, research and development location for Merck.

Source: Merck Group

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