There is one critic of Japanese literature that towers above the rest: professor John Nathan, erstwhile associate of Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe and Kobo Abe. But he’s not only a respected critic, Nathan’s extraordinary career has seen him in the roles of film director, scriptwriter, novelist and memoirist, and his translations of Oe’s novels did much to assist that writer on his path to receiving the Nobel Prize in 1994.

Four Japanese writers including novelists Junichiro Tanizaki and Yukio Mishima were nominees for the 1964 Nobel Prize in literature, according to documents released by the Swedish Academy.

The documents, made available at Kyodo News’ request after a customary 50-year period of secrecy, also showed that Tanizaki made it as far as the six-candidate shortlist for the prize that year.