Japan’s Nobel Laureate Satoshi Omura Takes Presidency of Nihon Essayist Club

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Nobel laureate Satoshi Omura speaks upon becoming president of the Nihon Essayist Club on Monday in Tokyo.

Nobel laureate Satoshi Omura took over the presidency of the Nihon Essayist Club on Monday in Tokyo, becoming the first figure not related to mass media to lead the organization.

“In the past, there were physicists and disaster prevention specialists who wrote wonderful essays,” the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine said in his inaugural address. “As a scientist and essayist, I would like to contribute to the development of this club.”

In addition to his research, the 87-year-old Omura has been publishing his essay collections at his own expense since the 1990s. He became a member of the Nihon Essayist Club in 2001.

Established in 1951, the club has about 250 members including writer Sawako Agawa and anatomist Takeshi Yoro. Recipients of the Nihon Essayist Club award aimed at discovering new writers, which marks its 71st edition this year, have included mathematician Masahiko Fujiwara and singer-songwriter Masashi Sada.

As Japan faces the trend of fewer people reading printed matter, an essayist of Omura’s stature as a Nobel laureate was chosen as the club’s president.