Jerusalem, Dec.1, 2013 - The book, "Japan As I See It," by Prof. Ben-Ami Shillony of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has won this year's prize as the best book furthering international understanding given by the Foundation for Furtherance of International Cultural Ties affiliated with the Japan Cultural Institute.
The prize is awarded annually to a book in Japanese which promotes best the understanding between cultures. Shillony's book was published in 2011 in Hebrew by Schocken Publishing House and was translated this year into Japanese under the title, "The Secret of Japan's Strength."
The book was awarded the prize in competition with 74 books written in Japanese or translated into Japanese which were submitted by 25 academic and commercial publishers. Shillony could not attend the recent prize awarding ceremony in Tokyo because of the death of his father, and the Israeli cultural attache received the prize in his place..
Shillony is professor emeritus of the history and culture of Japan at the Hebrew University and is considered a world authority in his field. His earlier books in Hebrew on Japan are used as the primary texts for Japan studies in Israeli academia. Last year, Shillony was elected as a fellow of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and is the honorary president of the Israeli Association for Japanese Studies.
In his book, "Japan As I See It," Shillony touches on a variety of aspects of life in Japan as viewed through his personal experiences there. Among the issues the book deals with are: Are the Japanese similar to the Jews or different from them? Why don't young Japanese women want to get married? Why are the Japanese who live in an affluent society so depressed?