Award-winning Works
Entertainment Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

Social Impact Award

New Face Award

U-18 Award

Jury Selections


  • TOKITA Takashi
    Producer and Game Creator, Square Enix Co., Ltd.
    Entertainment: A Journey to Hope in Chaos
    I have been a member of the jury for the Entertainment
    Division since the 23rd Japan Media Arts Festival,
    and I was honored to be the Head of the Jury in
    this third year. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak
    in 2020, we have been living with the ever-mutating
    novel coronavirus.
    The Spanish flu pandemic took place 100 years ago.
    Although COVID-19 vaccines have been implemented
    at remarkable speed, our globalized world with information technology is confused in a different manner
    than 100 years ago. Last year, I felt encouraged that the
    number of entries increased precisely because of this
    situation. Nevertheless, this year’s entries totaled 3,537,
    a decrease from last year’s 3,693.
    The Entertainment Division had a total of 489 entries,
    compared to 626 last time. Every category showed a
    decrease: from 130 to 79 in the game category, from
    287 to 247 in the video / sound work category, from 69
    to 60 in the multimedia production category, from 90 to
    61 in the product category, and from 50 to 42 in the web
    site / application category. This is particularly prominent in categories that require collaborative production.
    Sharing tasks is possible remotely, but my routine game
    production makes me keenly aware of the significance
    and importance of sharing the same mindset and working cooperatively in a physical space.
    However, this situation in turn has brought about
    more opportunities to encounter a wide range of works,
    from past masterpieces to current popular works, as
    well as many independent works. At the same time, the
    value of realistic live entertainment is being rediscovered and much sought-after. Staying home also led to
    an expansion of the player base of games, which is my
    field of expertise, from single-player games to games
    for enjoying communicating with others. Regardless of
    the situation, or rather, because of the situation, people
    yearn for “a trip to a different world.” This is perhaps the
    essence of entertainment.
    The Excellence Award winner, Cyberpunk 2077, is
    a cutting-edge work, realistically depicting the expansion and enhancement of physical ability through 3D
    technology. There are two major pioneer role-playing
    games: Ultima (1981), which portrays the world from an
    overhead view, and Wizardry (1981), a first-person RPG
    that emphasizes adventure. The mainstream in Japan
    is third-person RPGs that combine these characteristics. Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, first-person
    RPG—an orthodox evolution from Western ones. With
    technology and inequality at its core, it indeed presents
    the trend of the current time.
    The Grand Prize winner was Naoki Urasawa presents
    Manben neo -Yoshikazu Yasuhiko-. This documentary
    TV program covers manga artists at their work sites
    closely, focusing on their techniques. This episode featuring YASUHIKO Yoshikazu totally astonished me with
    his spectacular drawing techniques. For my generation
    who grew up with manga and animation, his techniques
    and expressions acquired through his long creative career appeared to be a modern version of KATSUSHIKA
    Hokusai, who was a Japanese artist and ukiyo-e painter
    and printmaker of the Edo period. Here, I mentioned
    two types of entertainment, digital and analog. As time
    goes by, new technologies prompt platform and industry development and nurture creators. The Japan Media
    Arts Festival is also seeing an increasingly greater number of entries that transcend categories in each division,
    blurring the boundaries in a positive sense.
    The breath of new-age cross-genre entertainment
    works can be found worldwide. At the same time, conceptual works that return to the origins of genres will be
    refined as well. Globalization and information technology have made our world more standardized. Amid the
    pandemic, people seem to be exploring the importance
    of looking back at the past, and securing a firm foothold
    in their country, region, and identity.
    History has been made in this way and people recollected it, corrected their course, and nurtured culture.
    I believe that creators from around the world will continue to produce diverse works and generate many
    cultural waves.
    Writer and Story Critic
    With a New Normal
    My impression of the last year was that there were
    many entries with a quick response to the COVID-19
    pandemic. For the Entertainment Division judging this
    year, my personal focus was on finding trends different from the previous year. Interestingly, the entries that
    placed a particular focus on the pandemic were not
    highly rated as expected. The pandemic has become
    a new normal, and we started to ask what can be done
    with the premise.
    In terms of “normal,” works such as Giant 3D Cat,
    viewers:1, and HATACHI NO HANA, indicate that a
    society on social media has also become our normal,
    forming a (legitimate) environment around the works. I
    am looking forward to seeing the future development of
    works that go beyond cheap populism (e.g., “going viral”) and that are connected with information platforms,
    just like Project Guideline, for example.
    What kind of experience should be offered by a
    work, while keeping technology as a premise? Looking back based on this question, I think there is a
    common approach among Cyberpunk 2077, Dislocation, YAKUSHIMA TREASURE ANOTHER LIVE from
    YAKUSHIMA, and the Grand Prize winner, Naoki
    Urasawa presents Manben neo -Yoshikazu Yasuhiko-.
    What they offer is an increase in the number of perspectives, or a departure from the idea of perspective.
    Virtually numerous cameras can be used, and the
    visual experience can be multilateral. That said, we already knew that such a group of works is technically
    possible. Nevertheless, the question is what to present? It appears to me that this year’s highly rated works
    are those that refine the idea and direction, have been
    matured, and brought to fruition with an ideology.
    Personally, I remember there were bountiful entries
    in the game category last year, with many attractive
    works from Japan and abroad. I expect to see more and
    more coming up with amazing user experiences in the
    future of this field.
  • KONISHI Toshiyuki
    Founder of POOL Inc. / Creative Director / Copywriter
    Determination to Pursue Something Interesting Appeals to People
    Unlike last year, when the theme was the lifestyle
    transformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I was
    impressed that this year’s entries showed a glimpse of
    determination (almost an obsession) to “create something interesting by all possible means,” even though we
    live in a world where the pandemic-related abnormalities
    have become the norm. Through the judging process, I
    have become convinced that creativity is about struggling; projects driven by hardship indeed appeal to many
    people. The Grand Prize winner, Naoki Urasawa presents Manben neo -Yoshikazu Yasuhiko-, is a long-lived
    program. I think the award is attributed to the incredible
    episode with the genius YASUHIKO Yoshikazu, which
    shed light anew on the purpose and the excellence of
    the program. Shooting in small spaces is typical low-key
    production in the time of the pandemic, yet this program
    demonstrates overwhelming creativity, proving a great
    potential for future TV programs. I think the Grand Prize
    is indeed the fruit of an obsession to “create something
    interesting by all possible means.”
    I hope many people see other works, including
    cutting-edge creative works such as Giant 3D Cat
    YAKUSHIMA; INDUSTRIAL JP ASMR with an overpoweringly beautiful output consisting of sound collected
    from factories throughout Japan; and viewers:1 with a
    simple storyline but surprising development and careful
    artwork. Personally, I was more fascinated by and saw
    future potential in projects that struggle to find a cloud’s
    silver lining, rather than those depending on new technologies and devices. In this regard, the talent of the
    13-year-old creator of VR Sandbox is dazzling, and I
    am excited about his future. No matter what the world
    may look like, I truly hope for the future that we will see
    epoch-making works derived from the obsession to
    “create something interesting by all possible means.”
    The Continued “Jury Issue” and Other Concerns
    This year, there seemed to be fewer real-time webcast
    and game entries than last year, possibly because people are more settled down about staying indoors. For
    the judging process this time, the jury were able to examine each candidate more carefully since the entries
    were already narrowed down.
    During my two years of judging, a question has been
    troubling me: am I qualified to judge a wide variety of
    genres? The best practice when a qualified person is
    unavailable would be “evaluation by a team of various
    experts,” and in fact this is how the entries are judged.
    However, there is another hardship: how far do I push
    my own opinion in such a situation?
    I remember the Grand Prize winner, Naoki Urasawa
    presents Manben neo -Yoshikazu Yasuhiko-, was chosen with unanimity. I watched the broadcast and was
    amazed by his unfaltering brush strokes reflecting his
    accumulated life experiences, and was encouraged by
    his energetic creative efforts at his age. This TV program documents and conveys the techniques and work
    of various manga artists. I personally hope that this extremely important program will continue in the future.
    I will skip discussion of Dislocation, a video work
    about refugees and immigrants, and Project Guideline,
    a product for supporting visually impaired runners,
    since I already wrote the Reason for Award elsewhere.
    Here I would like to note my recent desire to personally
    hold discussions with many people when judging and
    producing works.
    If propaganda is skillfully concealed beneath artistic
    problem presentation or sugar-coated entertainment,
    are we able to detect such works? How and in what way
    is it different from a message or a criticism?
    I think we must cool our thoughts and critically reconsider and learn about freedom of expression, about
    expressions that might harm others or the oppressed,
    and about technology or media uses and expressions
    that drive changes in our cognition and behavior.
  • EGUCHI Rika
    Art Director / Artist
    Gift for an Afflicted World
    I had always felt that the Japan Media Arts Festival was
    a competition in a different world, distant from an analog
    person like me. Being unexpectedly invited to join the
    jury for the Entertainment Division this year, I decided
    to participate to be a representative of ordinary citizens.
    Considering the diversity of the entries, including films,
    TV programs, multimedia production, advertisements,
    products, games, and applications, I was at first doubtful of evaluating them all together.
    However, in the context of entertainment, opportunities to encounter a truly moving and valuable piece
    are not so abundant for us who are always surrounded
    by a large amount of information and entertainment.
    Although the encounter with the entries for judging
    was a special occasion, I tried to evaluate them based
    on whether or not the entries had the ability to simply
    touch people’s hearts or to change people’s awareness
    or worldview.
    The jurying process took quite a long time, partially
    because it was my first time, but it was very fruitful to
    listen to and hold discussions with other jury members from different fields about each work on site. In
    a pandemic-struck, uncertain era with many people
    feeling lost, entertainment is no exception to suffering
    various limitations. Despite such a situation, a variety
    of solutions were found in the entries, such as ones
    to overcome or take advantage of adversity, and to
    achieve sharp expressions imperturbable in any situation. Precisely because of the current situation, I hope
    for entertainment to brightly illuminate our minds. I
    believe we selected works that may encourage the afflicted world, including myself.