Award-winning Works
Manga Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • YAMADA Tomoko
    Manga Researcher
    I Appreciate That We Have These Works in Our Own Daily Lives
    In many cases, as series last a long time, they tend to lose their freshness or their illustrations becomerougher. However, JOJOLION is depicted ever more carefully and its style becomes newer despite the length of the series. The brilliant aspect of this work is that, while remaining a big hit series, it remains a unique and front-line artwork. I attended the screening meeting with the intention of nominating it from the beginning. With its originality, SHOUWA GENROKU RAKUGO SHINJU completely turned around my thoughts that if one depicts a world of traditional Japanese art, it must always seem old-fashioned. Soredemo Machi wa Mawat teiru (The Town Keeps Moving) is basically a collection of standalone episodes, brilliant in the way it holds readers' attention from the first volume to the very latest. The highlight of CHIISAKOBEE is the vivid depictions of mouth-watering foods which Ritsu cooks. Hikidashi ni Terrarium (TERRARIUM IN DRAWER) is superb in its imagination packed into many different short stories. Le Goût du Chlore is printed in full color, which is uncommon for Japanese manga. Its experimental use of colors is new and unique. Alice to Zouroku is a SF fantasy combined with cute illustrations. Readers are impressed with Zouroku's integrity and excited about the daily discoveries of Sana. In the pale illustrations of Natsuyasumi no Machi (A Town during Summer Vacation) you can sense the bright summer sunshine. With the Special Achievement Award, NAKAMURA Kimihiko, the representative of COMITIA (original independent comic exhibition), may seem too young to be awarded the prize. However, given the amount COMITIA has contributed to the manga scene's creativity, I think presenting the award to him is actually overdue. I personally feel that MIZUSHIRO Setona and ONE could have won the Excellence Award and the New Face Award respectively. However, in both their cases, due to their popularity their votes were split between multiple works nominated for different awards. I have the overall impression that many of this year's works deliberately portray a collection of everyday details. I would like to conclude this year's awards by stating how much I appreciate that we have these works in our own daily lives.
    Manga Artist and Manga Researcher
    Manga Power Behind the Trend of Changes
    It has been three years since I became a juror. In this short period of time many forms of manga other than printed paper, such as blogs and online comics distributed by mobile phones, have considerably increased in volume. These new forms also lead to diverse changes of ideas in manga every year. As a lot of debate occurred as to whether particular works should be considered as manga or animation, I was given the impression that a genre-crossing trend is gaining momentum. On the other hand, manga published on paper shows no sign of letting up and the number of such candidates for the awards also increased. Just before the final screening process this year, I spent three days at the secretariat of the festival to finish reading through all the candidates' works, which I finally managed. Reading all the works would be a demanding task. I think there is a limit to a screening process in which every single juror has to look through all works, and this needs to be addressed in the future.The enormous volume of submissions covers various themes in terms of characters' occupations or attributes. Traditionally, the theme of "school life manga" would be limited to a baseball club, but now even unpopular clubs are featured without a moment's thought. However, the stories themselves still remain more or less the same. Most of the main characters are a little unskillful, they have undeveloped talent, they grow after overcoming some challenge after which rivals appear, then there is some kind of big moment in the end.... Although recent stories have become more sophisticated, in most cases they are simply 21st-century versions of Kyojin no Hoshi (a famous Japanese baseball manga) with some new flavors being added, and I felt quite nostalgic as a result of reading these unexpectedly familiar plot structures.00Needless to say, there were also many works in new genres. The winning works with which I was particularly impressed are: Kokokyuji Zawa-san, a new type of baseball manga, ASTEROID Miners, a comical yet seriously educational manga, Henshin no Nyu-su, which may shock the literary world, and Torokeru Tekkoujo, which features characters' enthusiasm for work.
  • SUGAYA Mitsuru
    Manga Artist and Professor, Kyoto Seika University
    The Range of Manga Beyond the Borders of Genre and Expression
    This is my first year as a juror, so I read as much as I could before the commencement of submissions. WhatI felt during the process was that a "long tail" phenomenon (The term is used to describe a method in internet business marketing, whereby selling many kinds of items in small quantities increases the bottom line.) in the manga industry has accelerated. These days there are simply too many manga for people to discover the interesting works, and only a few "megahits" are recognized by the public, despite there being many more works which deserve attention. This is why events like the Japan Media Arts Festival play a key role as a guide to the manga which people should be reading.I conducted my first screening with such an attitude. The Grand Prize-winning Work, JOJOLION, is already a well-established megahit and although it's true I was thinking "Why now?", I wanted to nominate a workwhich has a world-class level of excellence. This is why I agreed with it being awarded the prize. I find it very impressive that it is not only the most outstanding work among the candidates, but also continues evolving in terms of representation despite having run for 20 years. I cannot but admire that point.We reached an almost unanimous decision on the Grand Prize, but as for the Excellence Award, we took more time to make a decision, as selections varied between jury members. CHIISAKOBEE is a clever recast of YAMAMOTO Shugoro's novel and depicts humanity in an old part of town. The characters don't change their facial expressions and they hardly move. It's a unique work in that it taxes readers' patience, but at the same time makes them feel good. Its slow and simple depictions centering on dialogue remind me of OZU Yasujiro's films. SHOUWA GENROKU RAKUGO SHINJU is a story about a young man who was released from jail and aspires to be a rakugo storyteller. It dramatically features the relationship between him, the master and others, thereby holding readers' attention throughout all its volumes.Hikidashi ni Terrarium (TERRARIUM IN DRAWER) is a collection of very short stories, an uncommon form nowadays, and is filled with experimental ideas such as presenting different styles of illustration in each episode. At the same time it tests readers' "manga literacy", but there is no doubt that it be categorized in manga.Soredemo Machi wa Mawat teiru (The Town Keeps Moving) is entertaining at a universal level and I think it should be more acknowledged by the general public. While it's a comical manga, it also has a short novel-like flavor and a number of different dimensions, which reflects the author's diverse sense of creativity.For the New Face Award, I nominated two works from the outset of screening: Natsuyasumi no Machi (A Town during Summer Vacation), which I had read before I became a juror, and another of MATIDA's works, Aoi Saida, which failed to receive an award. While I was reading the online comic, Natsuyasumi no Machi, I enjoyed discovering that one picture of a firework "spins" through an optical illusion resulting from the use of the vertical scroll bar, although this is probably unintentional on the part of the author. Le Goût du Chlore is a work through which you enjoy your "senses". I used to be a member of my school swimming club, so I can practically feel the transparent water and experience the sensation of floating expressed in the work. The illustrations even make you feel as if you can smell chlorine, stimulating the back of your nose. However, I think it leaves something to be desired. Alice to Zouroku (Alice and Zouroku) features a story which could develop into a tremendous battle, but the author depicts it more as a lightweight novel for teenagers. Although it's a fascinating story, it is undeniable that it seems small-scaled. But maybe that makes it popular with young readers. There was a wide variety of works among the winners and Jury Selections this year, but contrary to our expectation not many Japanese submissions were focused on an electronic form. Works taking advantage of the unique features of electronic devices might have instead been submitted to the Animation or Entertainment Divisions. However, foreign submissions included some interactive works. As the environment surrounding manga has evolved to what it is today, we have to reconsider its definition and I think that's one of the important roles an open manga award like the Japan Media Arts Festival should play.
  • ITO Go
    Manga Critic and Associate Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
    Diversification of Manga Representation
    First of all, a pleasing aspect of this year's Manga Division is the increased number of submissions. Moreover, it is extremely satisfying that the range of submissions expanded widely to include everything from commercially successful major works to very personal works. In Japan, "manga" in recent times has generally referred to "story manga". In this field, it's common knowledge that a high quality of representation is consistent with commercial success. This indicates a confidence in the aesthetic assessment of good quality in the reader's judgement. This year's Grand Prize reflects this.
    The "story manga" referred to here means a work for which an enormous amount of time is spent to create a large number of pages and, in many cases, results in the form of long serialization which conveys a complicated and elaborate story. Most submissions this year fit this category. I expect that those who are interested in the awards in the Manga Division also share the assumption that a manga refers to story manga. However, in the broad sense of the term, a manga representation is not exclusive to story manga, but inclusive of various forms. In this field, too, there were a wide variety of works in this year's submissions.
    The abovementioned "major works" refer to story manga which assume a large circulation. On the other hand, the "personal works" include handmade-like works which their authors refuse to copy in quantity. The latter may bring the experience of reading itself to the fore. This can be considered a primary reason for the expansion of submissions. Many debates on whether a particular work should be categorized as manga were held during the screening process this year. This is also a concrete sign that the range of submissions widely expanded.
    The notion that a manga refers to story manga is not absolute. Manga research in recent years has actively tried to dispel this assumption which had become mainstream in manga discourse. This year's submissions and screening process aligned with this most recent academic approach.
  • SAITO Nobuhiko
    Editor and Manga Researcher
    Manga as Independent Expression
    People are allowed to think or imagine anything. They are free to express what they think or imagine not only by means of words, but also using manga, paintings or films as their output. They can depict anything imaginable without hesitation. However, as the concept of freedom of expression penetrates deeply into society, disagreements arise. There exist conventions and laws to reconcile these conflicts. With regard to manga representation, the development of tools, software and the internet environment are certainly making a positive contribution to creativity, but there are also many aspects in today's manga environment which could lead to disincentives for artists to express themselves. However, if I express a simple principle of my own, a work of expression should, once expressed, not be subject to influences which attempt to limit expression.
    Although there are many new face awards established by publishers in the manga industry, only a few awards are open to the general public. The Japan Media Arts Festival is a work-oriented award which is not decided by popularity polls and places no limitation on the form of submissions. As a wide-open award, it will become more important in the industry. For the screening, I take the stance that the judging processes also generate an "expression", that of the jury.
    This year again, the number of submissions increased compared to the previous year. For the Grand Prize, JOJOLION was selected after considering the influence of the series on manga culture and other artists' future work, as well as the achievement of it being translated into different languages. We have a lineup of marvelous new works for the Excellence and New Face Awards. We didn't discuss it during the screening process, but these eight award-winning works, with their different publication methods also originated from, such as serialized book publications and works released online. This makes evident the variety of interrelated media forms in the Japanese manga industry today. Although it's a pity that some very popular works were not submitted, I think all the award-winning works show powerful independent expression and are worthy representatives of the manga of 2013.