Award-winning Works
Manga Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • YAMADA Tomoko
    Manga Researcher
    Even If There Are Harsh Times Ahead
    Starting with the Grand Prize-winner Goshiki no fune, six of the award-winning works Harukaze no sunegurachika, Hitsuji no ki, Dobugawa, Chi-chan wa chotto tarinai, and Ai o kurae!! (A Chinese Life might also be included) depict people we feel pity for, or who are in positions very different from the norm. And yet, there was no prior intention to do this. Manga is a medium sensitive to the currents of the world. The selected works are no different, and so it is with a slight feeling of apprehension that I sense the manga artists preparing for tougher days ahead in the trial-and-error approach they take in their stories.
    However, all the works truly try to show us means of living in the face of situations that would otherwise make one feel helpless. They make you feel from different angles that, even in what may at first seem to be a terrible disaster, new paths may reveal themselves provided there is a readiness to hold on and live with determination. I don't, of course, want to invite negative feelings about what lies ahead. However, if I were at the mercy of a situation in which I were helpless to do anything, would I be able to live as boldly as the characters in these stories? It is my hope that I would.
    I am especially pleased that Goshiki no fune won the Grand Prize. Even among KONDO's numerous masterpieces, it is a really wonderful work. Whenever you read Aoi honoo, your shoulders relax as you laugh at the intensely thoughtful main character "overdoing it". Through it, you feel the power for life that springs from laughter. The TV drama version, made by a director who loves the original, was also a success. Special Achievement Award-winner ONO Kosei, who for many years suppor ted the overseas comics that have been booming of late, is surely a man of special achievement.
    This year again, starting with the works I have mentioned here, I have gained much from coming into contact with a great many works rich in content. I feel embarrassed that I still have no idea how to return it.
  • SUGAYA Mitsuru
    Manga Artist and Professor, Kyoto Seika University
    Manga with Editors, and Manga without
    There was a readiness with which the Jury faced the review of entries this year. With a total number of 763 entries, it was anticipated that great effort would be required even to simply look through all works.
    However, in comparison to last year it was easier in some respects. Thanks to the majority of manga issued in books or published in magazines being available also in e-book form, I was able to read submissions at places of my own choosing without having to walk carrying a large quantity of books. Manga viewable on a computer or a portable digital device were divided into two categories: Online comics, generally offered in the vertical scrolling format by emerging IT companies, and manga published on paper by manga publishers that have a proven track record.
    Among the vertical scrolling manga, I remember the agony of having to read numerous works telling one-off stories with tedious plots. There were only a handful of works that exploited this format, and perhaps the day when they are abandoned by readers entirely is close at hand. Also characteristic of the genre is that, in simply arranging a large number of works in a line, the presence of the editors is not felt.
    In contrast, among the digital manga released by manga publishers, of which ONE PUNCH-MAN is representative, whether or not due in part to the fact that they are also producing comics, one can still sense the involvement of the editor. In order that the new digital power can be ranked alongside the old power, surely there is an urgent need to nurture editors who are able to monitor the quality of work.
    Both Grand Prize-winner Goshiki no fune and the New Face Award-winners Dobugawa and Chi-chan wa chotto tarinai, all published on paper, are works that would have been difficult to publish in magazines without the support of editors who understand the work, and there were many such entries among this year's selections. Here - and this is also applicable to manga artists - one can sense the readiness and dignity of the editors, and with it I felt their reliability.
    That it was a lean year both for self-published comics and online comics may possibly be related to the presence, or absence of editors.
  • SAITO Nobuhiko
    Editor and Manga Researcher
    Manga Works Transmitted/Transmitting to the Next Generation
    The format of the Japan Media Arts Festival consists, in the same manner as film festivals and other such events, of the screening of works submitted by the creators themselves. What differs greatly between the Manga Division and the aforementioned film festivals - and also the other divisions in this festival - is that many submitted works are incomplete. This means that, in the case of Japanese manga, there are (still) many works published in the form of books or series in magazines, and that there are (still) few submissions from overseas. This was my third and last year as a Jury member. The Jury have made great efforts to select works best representing 2014 that are worthy of being transmitted to the next generation. This is done with the consideration that applicants wish to create epoch-making works conveying a message to future generations. The total number of submissions this year exceeded 700. Even though I read regularly, I was hard-pushed to look through hundreds of works in nearly two months, and the threshold seems to be approaching in terms of submission numbers.
    Firstly, the Grand Prize was decided by the unanimous agreement of all Jury members. At the final curtain of Goshiki no fune, as the Fellini-esque trailing notes dye away, if we dare to cite its weaker aspects it would be that it wasn't able to go beyond what was called to mind at the outset. The Excellence Awards consisted of a line of works depicting chaos and confusion. As for the New Face Awards, there was a tendency for votes to be split between male and female Jury members, but decisions were reached after exhaustive discussion. I was left with the impression that, not only the award-winning works, but a number of other entries depicted mental or physical loss, and many would be worth reading as single volumes. Glancing over the Jury Selections, there were mainstream Japanese manga about school, sports, fighting, love, and fantasy, in addition to overseas entries, and online and self-published manga, these genres and forms diversifying in competition with one another. The image I retain of this year's festival is not of a sprinkling of small isolated peaks, but the formation of a serene mountain range. These works may appear to be suffused with the ambience of the era in which they were made, but is this the case? Let us bury the seeds of submissions not listed here, and see if they grow to connect with future generations. With expectations that the artists' seeds will germinate and thrive, I entrust future juries not to let them slip through their fingers.
  • INUKI Kanako
    Manga Artist and Visiting Professor, Osaka University of Arts
    The Absence of Light -hearted Manga
    In this year's screening, there was an overwhelming 700-plus works, and we had a hard time reading them all. The professional work was also generally of a high technical level. For one thing, there were greater opportunities to see the evolution of tools and overseas works, and games and drawings of a high standard. And now, as it becomes natural for children to read manga from an early age - as if receiving a special education for the gifted - it seems these developments are the result of "growing up". Since manga artists succeeded 50 years ago in drawing readers into the world of their narratives by continually studying the composition of panels over a two-page spread, thus allowing the story to flow or run, manga has come to be accepted as a medium that can be disseminated worldwide.
    However, regrettably there is a feeling that the highest level of completion has been reached, and that we cannot expect any further progress in the world of books. In regard not only to technical aspects but also in terms of narrative, the division of genres has already been exhausted, and in many fields there are further subdivisions that become nothing more than esoteric.
    A characteristic of works this year, whether due to the strong academic background of the creators or greater reader numbers, was a marked increase in works with a literary flavor, and works not simply about sex, disability and other taboos, but which depicted something with a particular sensitivity. The high level of perfection is welcome, but for some reason I am also conscious of a feeling of loneliness. It is also important to have a sensibility whereby one unreservedly senses the "attraction" of a work. While adults frown and retort at its inevitability, I feel the end has come for the manga that emerged from this wellspring. If so, what then remains are simply the trends riding the current of the age and relying on individual sensibilities, and yet we can say that individual sensibilities already exist as "serious manga for adults", inclusive of self-published comics. I have tried to convince myself that this year's entries do not account for all the manga in the world, and that it may be a trait of this festival. What I had most wanted to see - a manga work that connects to the future - was not selected for an award this year, but I have expectations for the future of online comics.
  • ITO Go
    Manga Critic and Associate Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
    The Difficulty of a Rich Torrent of Diverse Works
    What was noticeable this year was the big disparity between the state of submissions in the categories within the Manga Division. The number of entries classified as manga published in books and magazines increased, but while more than 500 titles were received in total, there was a real drop in the number of independently produced manga, such as self-published comics. Not simply limited to the difference in submission numbers, the dullness of paper-based self-published comics also contrasted with the richness of manga published in books. On the other hand, during the screening of the works in the book category, I could truly experience the sheer quantity of manga currently in distribution. Not only great in number, there were also many works with interesting, substantial content. However, while there are many magazines published, and a great many books released in succession, there is a limit to the number of works a reader can encounter. In short, the situation is such that, until the starting line at which the work reaches the hands of the reader, there are many difficulties.
    When examining submissions, it was noticeable how a number of works were taking advantage of "sample comics" offered online by publishers. Many of these samples only offer the beginning of the story, and it would be difficult to say they fulfill a function similar to that of film trailers. With the opening section of entertainment-style serialized works, there is a similarity of structure that fulfils the function of making the characters appealing and explaining the story, paradoxically preventing the strength of the work being properly conveyed. I was somewhat disappointed that, in accordance with the future increase in sales of e-books, it can also be expected that only online samples will become important.
    Speaking of the Internet, it is also worthy of mention that there were many submissions in the format of what are called "webtoons", cartoon strips originating from South Korea. The format involves the use of a single page that scrolls vertically, allowing you to read the panels extending in one direction. Unfortunately, none of these works were given awards, but while it might be assumed a handicap that devices providing complex visual guidance cannot be employed in the paper medium, we should look out for the possibilities for this new form in the future.