21st Manga Division Critiques

New Talent is Everywhere

There was an intense competition for this year's New Face Award (in the Manga Division, artists with ca- reers shorter than about 10 years eligible). In the field of immensely talented young creators, KUNO Yoko, MASUMURA Jushichi, and ITAGAKI Paru--who each possess a unique and wonderful personality--came away with the award.This is good news for both the award and the manga world. I am so pleased that I can end my three-year term as a juror with the thrill of knowing that the talents of young manga artists will bloom further as they continue their careers, and that more new talent will continue to appear. A great benefit for me personally was hearing about the passion that other jurors have for manga dur- ing the screening process.In the short span of three years, the manga world has changed significantly. Perhaps most remarkable is how web-based manga shared via social media is flourish- ing. A work of a modern manga artist (professional or amateur) is shared on social media as soon as it is fin- ished, gains online popularity, becomes a serial or book collection that gets commercially published and be- comes a hit--this process has become so established that it scarcely needs mention here.That being said, stories published on social media did not account for a high proportion of the works that were submitted for this award, so it seems hard to say that today's manga trends are being directly reflected here. Considering the nature of this award, which welcomes works equally, regardless of where they were published or whether or not they were released in book form, this makes me feel gloomy. Since the only way to submit is by self-recommendation, perhaps the time has come for us to work harder to ensure that we inform writ- ers whose areas of activity are outside of commercial publications about the existence of the awards and en- courage them to want to submit.Of course, it is impossible to look at every interesting manga that exists in the world, but as a person who loves manga, I feel once again that I wish this award could get as close to that lofty ideal as possible.

Manga Journalist
Born in 1970 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After working as an editor at Amazon Japan she became a freelance writer in 2003. Since then, she has planned and written articles related mainly to manga, such as interviews with manga artists and serial columns in magazines including Da Vinci, Morning, and Lettuce Club. Her books include Manga no no kitaekata (How to Train Manga Brains) [Shueisha, 2010], for which she conducted interviews with artists about their working techniques; We are uchu kyodai—Uchu hikoshi no sokojikara (We Are Space Brothers—The Strength of Astronauts), for which she interviewed astronauts and space development specialists; and We are uchu kyodai—Uchu wo butai ni katsuyaku suru hitotachi (We Are Space Brothers—People Active on the Stage of Space) [Morning Editorial Department, Kodansha, +a Shinsho, 2012]. She also edited a language studies book in France, Le Japonais du Manga, co-authored with Misato RAILLARD [Assimil, 2015], which features Japanese manga terms for French manga fans.