Award-winning Works
Manga Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

Jury Selections


  • HOSOGAYA Atsushi
    Associate Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
    Compete on the fun of interpretation
    Like last year, the awarded works in the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival included many historical sagas. Some critics argue that "the great fiction" has been long lost, but isn't it possible that the evolution of human history and deeds are filled with more dynamism and adventure than pure fiction? Furthermore, calling historical facts into doubt is not a taboo anymore, and it is a known fact that policymakers distort history at their own convenience. In fact, manga itself owes its existence to invention and twisting of facts. In other words, the fun of interpretation is the main weapon of the manga art. The positive recognition of such subjective and challenging acts of creation is probably appropriate for the Japan Media Arts Festival.
    In that sense, I felt that manga in new types of media, such as the Internet and mobile phones, is still in the trial-and-error stage. It cannot fully utilize the advantages of interactivity yet. The persistence and creative thinking of artists that stick to print media for their independent works were much more amusing and filled with promise.
  • MURAKAMI Tomohiko
    Professor, Kobe Shoin Women's University
    Appealing works by female artists
    The 14th Japan Media Arts Festival featured a lineup of uniformly splendid works, and those that failed to win any award lost by a very small margin. In that sense, the screening process was a tough battle that allowed for no room to consider gender balance. As a result, this year for the first time there were no awarded works by female manga artists. Screening from the progress of female artists in recent years, this outcome is somewhat baffling, but it was not intentional. This year, the jury gave the highest marks to historical manga and works with pronounced documentary quality, but manga, such as cocoon, which depicts the story of the Himeyuri Corps as a fantasy of a young girl, offer a slightly different perspective on history that makes them a mighty opponent to historical manga. WOMBS, a work that depicts with a great feeling of vitality the battles of a special corps composed entirely of pregnant women in a SF-like parallel universe, is another work that gives a foreboding glimpse into the "great fiction" typical for female artists. There were many other works by female artists that received support in the screening debate, such as Machi de Uwasa no Tengu no Ko, Fantasium, and Koukou Kyuuji ZAWA-san.
  • SAITO Chiho
    Manga Artist
    Awarded work reflects the spirit of history
    HISTORIE received the highest critical acclaim by most members of the jury and relatively smoothly was selected as the winner of the Grand Prize. In contrast, the manga works nominated for the Excellence Prize were uniformly superb, so it was very difficult to narrow them down to four recipients of the prize. This fact alone demonstrates the concentration of diverse manga works of the highest level at this year's Japan Media Arts Festival.
    There were many elaborate works whose plot incorporates unfamiliar down-to-earth settings, and among the manga works on historical topics there were both classical history manga and modern history manga, so the selection of the prize winners reflects the maturity of manga culture.
    The cat manga Ore to Neko-Nyan, which failed to win an Excellence Prize, stood out for the extraordinary affection demonstrated by the jury members, a fact that probably proves the chemistry between cats and manga artists.
    I was also impressed by the way works with a plot set in the near future, such as Bokurano, Diaspolice, and WOMBS, reflect contemporary Japanese society, the various changes it is going through, and the ever growing sense of impending crisis.
    Manga Artist
    The power to draw vividly and with emotional attachment
    HISTORIE, a manga that follows the life since childhood of the boy who would later in his life become the secretary to Alexander the Great, and Fuuunji-tachi bakumatsuhen, a comical manga that depicts, from a global perspective, the adventures of a group of samurai in the last days of the TOKUGAWA Shogunate, are both works on a grand scale. What these two works that remained in the competition for the Grand Prize have in common is the direct approach to history, and the power to draw vividly and with emotional attachment a rather realistic picture of a time period and figures, achieving historical authenticity. If I have to compare them to rakugo, HISTORIE represents a new type of rakugo, while Fuuunji-tachi bakumatsuhen is a classic rakugo. Overflowing with entertainment elements that open new horizons for development of the new manga world, HISTORIE won the Grand Prize by a small margin, but I believe that Fuuunji-tachi bakumatsuhen is a work of enlightenment and a historical chronicle that is needed today. The recipients of the Excellence Prize are all outstanding works that venture into new fields of expression. I enjoyed to my heart's content the appeal of manga as a form of entertainment.
  • NAGAI Go
    Head of the Jury / Manga Artist
    Interest in verifying historical significance of the past
    The many of the final candidates of Award-Winning Works of the Manga Division that won the votes of the jury dealt with history.
    These include HISTORIE which portrayed the rise and fall of ancient Greece and Macedonia, Fuuunji-tachi bakumatsuhen which depicted the history of the Edo Period on the eve of opening up the country in an easy-to-understand manner, and RED which told the story of the United Red Army.
    The jury also had discussions on Bokurano, the story of fighting in a robot that causes the death of the pilot, Ore to Neko-Nyan that portrayed the everyday life of the manga artist with his much-loved cat with comedy, and KOKO NO HITO which depicted the solitary fight of a climber.
    The winner of the Grand Prize was HISTORIE. Because the story is still being serialized and is only an introductory section of a full-length work, there were voices that it was too early to award the prize. However, the majority of opinions were that the work fully deserves the prize even if it is an introductory section.There were also tours de force in which expert knowledge was exhibited by manga, such as Fantasium, the story of how a boy magician grows up and succeeds, and Tomehane!, the story of the progress of a high school student belonging to the calligraphy club and the intricacies of calligraphy.
    In a way I miss the unrealistic absurd works that used to be the mainstream of manga which are difficult to find these days, but this should be considered the maturation of the manga culture.
    Culture acts in concert with society. The aging Japanese society may be shifting its interest to the verification of historical significance of the past rather than hopes and visions for the future.