Biography of the great authors
By Akihiko Kaminoyama
Learns from Ryotaro Shiba 5th.

People who discovered Ryotaro Shiba's talent.

When Ryotaro Shiba worked to Sankei Shimbun, he interchanged with Daikichi Terauchi- a famous Japanse writer and a leader of a Jodoshinshu- friendly. And they began the coterie magazine the "Kindai Setsuwa" together. Jugo Kuroiwa- a famous Japanese write- also participated in the member.
Shiba wrote a short novel called "magician of Persia" this time. The work was awarded Kodansha club prize- a present Shosetsu Gendai Shinjin award. The report published by the special issue number in magazine "Bungeishunju" May, Heisei 8 expresses his feeling of this time well.
gI write a novel because myself becomes the first reader. I came to think that the purpose of writing a novel is only for that thing. Even now, this does not change. I write the things which I want to read. That is, probably, there are about 2,000 or 3,000 persons who have the moral constitution similar to me in 100 million Japanese. What is necessary is just to make the people into readers. I donft think of the other reader. I think so. And I would like to write the novels not to be overflowed there.h
The first long novel for Ryotaro Shiba to write "The Castle of Owls" was written by that his friend asked for shiba to write a novel on a paper. It was serialized by the newspaper of the Buddhism, the "Chugai Nippo." This series became a book later and won the Naoki Prize in this year.
There is little episode about that Ryotaro Shiba was awarded.
In award judges of those days in Japan, there are leaders of a historical novel writer, Eiji Yoshikawa and Chogoro Kaionji. Eiji Yoshikawa had given only undervaluation to this work. On the other hand, Chogoro Kaionji evaluated this work highly and was recommending the Naoki Prize.
Kaionji started persuasion in Yoshikawa.
"Mr. Yoshikawa, Shiba is a genius writer who has a talent just like you.h [the volume "the letter from Ryotaro Shiba", 317 pages, Asahi Bunko.]
Honestly, I wonder. Why could Kaionji perceive Ryotaro Shiba's genius only by reading "The Castle of Owls"? I think Kaionji Chogoro is also a great writer. Strong recommendation by Kaionji, "The Castle of Owls" won the Naoki Prize fortunately. Then, the encouragement from Kaionji had followed Ryotaro Shiba for a long time. Shiba wrote in "Go on the old main roads", "Unless there was a writer, Kaionji Chogoro, possibly I did not write the second work."
Then, when the other person appeared, Ryotaro Shiba was able to show the talent further.
The person was the Shigeo Mizuno, Sankei Newspapers president . After Shiba won the Naoki Prize, he requested him to write the serial novel on the paper gSankei Shimbun.h It was a incredible high price as the manuscript fee. Mizuno said that the manuscript fee of the moon of 1 million yen was paid for the time, when a journalistic salary was about 30,000 yen. Shiba declined with thanks, gItfs really more honor than I deserve.h But Mizuno persuaded him strongly. Shiba accepted his offer. The series which started then is "Ryoma goes." The manuscript fee disappeared in order to purchase a huge quantity of literary documents and materials.
Seemingly, the reputation of readers and critics were poor when the series of this work was started. Bungeishunju Ltd., published the series as a book. The first to the 2nd volume became a mountain of the books returned unsold from bookstores. Hiroshi Wada who was an editor in charge wrote in the gA writer, Ryotaro Shibah [Bunshun bunko], "It did not sell at all." However, it began to sell from the third volume, and became a best seller instantly. Evaluation of the work itself also rose with it.
The style peculiar to Ryotaro Shiba was completed exactly these days. His new style was that himself who was an author appeared into a novel and explained a historical background. Do readers accept such style? He was worried about it. History shows that it was an unnecessary anxiety. Present Ryotaro Shiba would not exist, without the series on the Sankei Shimbun. There was as big a meaning as it.
Even the great writer as Ryotaro Shiba was not necessarily evaluated highly by readers from the start. A best seller was not necessarily taken out suddenly. A writer always should have a will to try to write higher level work than the past one. Then, the number of persons who evaluate his works highly would be increased. Ryotaro Shibafs episode is teaching that it is more important than anything.

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