Mo Yan, a contemporary Chinese writer known for two of his novels which were the basis of the film Red Sorghum, was awarded Asian Culture Prize by a southern Japanese city on Thursday.
Mo, 51, won the Grand Prize of the 17th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize for "demonstrating the spirit to drive into the future the literature of Asia that has been bound by the stifling influence of modern Western literature and the weight of history and tradition," the award citation said.
Other laureates are Shagdaryn Bira, a Mongolian historian, Takeshi Hamashita, a Japanese scholar of East Asian modern history, and Uxi Mufti, a specialist in the preservation of folk and traditional cultures of Pakistan.
According to prize committee, the Asian culture prizes were established in 1990 "to honor the outstanding work of individuals or groups to preserve and create unique and diverse cultures of Asia."
"Mr. Mo Yan has used literature to employ the richness and diversity of culture and the complexity and potential of human society," the citation said, "He has opened a path from Asia to the world, in the process demonstrating the significance of Asian culture to the world."
Mo was born in a rural family in Shandong province, China. Many of his works depict experiences in farm villages with a unique style.
Two of Mo's novels, Hong Gaoliang and Hong Gaoliang Jiazu were adapted into the movie Red Sorghum. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the movie won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1988. Other works of Mo included The Republic of Wine: A Novel, The Garlic Ballads and Big Breasts & Wide Hips.
The winners will lecture at the public forums and visit primary and high schools in Fukuoka city from Sept. 14 to 17.