The is a prestigious literary award in Japan. The prize was founded in 1948 by the Yomiuri Shinbun Company to help form a "cultural nation". The winner is awarded one million Japanese yen and an inkstone.
For the first two years, awards were granted in four categories: novels and plays, poetry, literary criticism, and scholarly studies. In 1950, novels and plays were split to form a total of five categories. This was further reorganized in 1966 to form six categories: novels, plays, essays and travel journals, criticism and biography, poetry, and academic studies and translation.