Buddha, president of the United States also explicitly recognized as potential characters in surprisingly wide-open competition.

Light novels, Japan’s equivalent to young adult fiction, have exploded in popularity over the last decade. Combining breezily paced plots with anime-style storytelling conventions, popular light novels have blossomed into multimedia juggernauts with animated and video game adaptations.

Even Kirisuto Shimbun, Japan’s most prominent Christian newspaper, has seen the light novel light, as it’s announced a new Christian-themed light novel contest (following the first such competition which has held last year). Given such numerical precedents as the Ten Commandments and seven deadly sins, you might expect the Christian light novel contest to also have several stifling rules, but it turns out that Kirisuto Shimbun is giving aspiring authors plenty of creative freedom, including the option to criticize Christianity in their story.

▼ So dibs on the title My Immortal Savior’s Blood Can’t Possibly be this Bad When Paired with Fish.

The contest’s website has a FAQ section which also covers queries related to whether participants have to be Christian and if you can make Satan the star of your narrative. Se if you can spot a pattern in Kirisuto Shimbun’s responses.

1. Is it OK to criticize Christianity in my story?
Sure, that’s no problem. We’re not looking for a novel to promote Christianity, but something that can be purely enjoyed as entertainment.

2, You say that, but really it’s not OK to criticize Christianity, right?
It’s no problem. Christianity’s God isn’t so narrow-minded as to get angry over something like that.

3. Can I make Satan the main character?
Sure, that’s no problem. We’re looking for an interesting, fresh, original story, and that sounds like it would be one.

4. Can Buddha be a character in my story?
Sure, that’s no problem. You can put any characters you want into your story, including God, Buddha, the president of the United States, or samurai warlords from the Sengoku period. However, we ask that you refrain from including elements that will be internationally offensive.

5. I don’t want to worry about if the elements of my story are heretical or canonical. Is that OK?
Sure, that’s no problem. If you’ve got enough time to worry about such trivial matters, we’d prefer you spend it making the story more interesting instead.

6. Is it OK if I’m not Christian?
Sure, that’s no problem. The author’s religion is neither a requirement nor a judgement criterion.

7. Is it OK if I have no religion?
Sure, that’s no problem. But even if you say you “have no religion,” we think everyone has at least a favorite idol singer or 2-D character they devoutly worship.

Submissions must be 10,000 Japanese characters or more in length, which isn’t a particularly long manuscript. You don’t need to submit the complete story, either. A single chapter or prologue, as long as it gives a feel for the characters and premise, will suffice, says Kirisuto Shimbun. The contest is open to both amateur and professionally published writers.

The winning author’s complete novel will be serialized in Ministry, the magazine published by Kirisuto Shimbun. Entries can be submitted through light novel author site Novel Days by adding the tag 聖書ラノベ新人賞2 (meaning “Biblical Light New Author Contest 2”) to the uploaded manuscript.

▼ “No dude, I’m telling you, Judas-tan is totally best apostle.”

If you’re looking to glean some wisdom from last year’s contest, the winning entry was titled I’m a 17-Year-Old Minister, but So What? And follows the daily life of Joshua Sato, a mostly typical 17-year-old Japanese high school boy who’s also a protestant minister (despite having only read part of the bible) and finds himself the center of admiring attention from the young ladies at his church.

Entries for Kirisuto Shimbun’s current contest can be submitted between now and January 10 (full details here) with the winning entry to be announced in February.

Source: Novel Days (1, 2) via IT Media
Top image: Novel Days
Insert images: Pakutaso, Wikipedia/Themadchopper

Follow Casey on Twitter, where “God isn’t so narrow-minded as to get angry over something like that” is a pretty concise summary of his spiritual beliefs.