The William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize was first established by the Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations and the Committee on Japanese Studies of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago in honor of their late colleague William F. Sibley.  Sibley was Associate Professor Emeritus in East Asian Languages & Civilizations and a scholar and translator of Japanese literature. He is best known for his work, The Shiga Hero, first published in 1979 by the University of Chicago Press, which introduced Western readers to the fiction of Shiga Naoya, one of Japan’s foremost modern writers.  To view the William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize award-winning translations from 2010 to 2014, please visit the CEAS website.

In AY 2016-2017, the Sibley Prize was renamed The William F. Sibley Memorial Subvention Award for Japanese Translation. It is an annual competition coordinated by the Committee on Japanese Studies of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago (CEAS). In keeping with Sibley's lifelong devotion to translation and to the place of literature in the classroom, up to $3,000 will be given each year as a publishing subvention for translations of Japanese literature into English.  

Eligible translations include, but are not limited to, poetry, fiction, short stories, compositions, literary criticism, and essays.  New translations of works previously translated are acceptable.

Subvention funds will be paid directly to publishers.  Nominations will only be accepted from presses that have previously published Japanese literature in translation.  Materials submitted by individual authors and translators will not be accepted.

Author and publisher must agree to acknowledge the publishing subvention as “a William F. Sibley Memorial Subvention Award for Japanese Translation from the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies Committee on Japanese Studies” in the acknowledgment section of the book.  Publisher will also provide 3 copies of the final published book to CEAS so copies can be shared with the Sibley family.

Required Nomination Documents

  • A completed Cover Sheet. (Download PDF)
  • A description of the proposed publication and its potential impact on the field of Japanese literature (MSWord or PDF format, 2-page maximum). Descriptions should situate the work for the general reader, helping them understand why they should care about the translated work. If applicable, descriptions should cite any prior translations and provide a rationale for the new rendition.
  • A PDF copy of the draft manuscript of the publication.
  • A basic budget and explanation of how the subvention would specifically be utilized (MSWord, MSExcel or PDF format).


Nominations must be submitted to 
by April 1, 2023.

Award Recipients


Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa’s Deluge: Two Novellas by Yūsuke Kimura, translated by Doug Slaymaker (University of Kentucky) - Columbia University Press, January 2019 publication


A Shameful Life (Ningen Shikkaku) by Osamu Dazai, translated by Mark Gibeau (Australian National University College of Asia and the Pacific) - Stone Bridge Press, November 2018 publication


Eight Dogs Part One: An Ill-Conceived Jest by Kyokutei Bakin, translated by Glynn Walley (University of Oregon) - Cornell University Press, August 2021 publication


An I-Novel by Minae Mizumura, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter - Columbia University Press, March 2021 publication


The Thorn Puller by Hiromi Ito, translated by Jeffrey Angles (Western Michigan University) - Stone Bridge Press, December 2022 publication


Is It Poetry? by Toshiko Hirata, translated by Spencer Thurlow and Eric E. Hyett - Deep Vellum Publishing, forthcoming publication