The Cikada Prize
was founded in 2004 following the 100th anniversary celebration in commemoration of the birth of the Swedish Nobel Prize winner, Harry Martinson
. The award consists of 20.000SEK and an art piece designed by the Swedish ceramics artist Gunilla Sundström.
The award is being presented in cooperation with Handelshögskolans Japan-Institut (The European Institute of Japanese Studies), Yasuragi Hasseludden, Judiska Teatern (Jewish Theater), Östasieninstitutet (East Asia Institute) and Nyteboden.
The name of the prize has been inspired by Martinson's poetry collection "Cikada", which was published in 1953. In this collection is also included the first 29 poems of Aniara, "The Song about Doris and Mima". The atomic bombs in Japan, followed by the construction of the world's first H-bomb in 1953, had a big impact in the creation of the Aniara-songs. The prize is aimed at Eastern poets (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) because of Harry Martinson's great admiration for this part of the world, but also because the rich poetry of these countries deserves better recognition.
- The first Cikada Prize was given to the poet So Sakon (1919-2006). The prize was presented in connection with the opening of a symposium about Japanese literature at the Yasuragi in Stockholm on the 6th of August 2004. The prize was given to So Sakon at the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo on the 3rd of September 2004.
- The winner of the second Cikada Prize was the haiku poet Kaneko Tota (born 1919). The prize was given to Kaneko Tota at the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo the 13th of December 2005 by the Princess Desirée of Sweden.
- The third Cikada Prize was given to the Korean poet Ko Un at the Swedish Embassy in Seoul, South Korea on the 28th of November 2006.