Award-winning Works
Manga Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • MATSUDA Hiroko
    Manga Artist
    Manga of Love, and Love for Manga
    My manga career spans only 20 years, but I have halfa-century of experience reading them. I accepted the offer to become a juror since I thought it was enough to love manga.
    However, I shouldn't have rationalized by love so nonchalantly. I learned from manga that love is an uphill battle. To describe the reasons to love, and of the need to separate if confronted with reasons otherwise is unapologetically difficult. We can collapse under its heavy load.
    As one has to choose a mantra to carry, so too I persevered to choose mine. I noticed that many of the works that came up for consideration concerned love. From Kakukaku shikajika (So-and-so, Such-and-such) with master-and-pupil combo of two powerful characters, to Otouto no otto (My Brother's Husband) that depicted the state of homosexual relationship and family, the unwavering reason and motivation to create these works can only be described as love. Awajima hyakkei (A Hundred Scenes of AWAJIMA) is filled with talented beautiful girls born to be loved, or the sadness and cruelty of the "humanity-machine relationship" captured in Kikai jikake no ai (Machinework Love) that is pure ironically because machines are heart-less. How one is loved and expresses love in Machida-kun no sekai (The World of Machida-kun) is heartwarming. Machida-kun no sekai was playfully wonderful and we cannot help but to love the lively characters.
    When the winners for the Japan Media Arts Festival were announced, I was touched by the "Congratulations!" exchanged on SNS from not only applicants, but by publishers and bookstores. Everyone supported the jury's decision and lifted the heavy load off us. As I felt joyous as love was overflowing from manga, simultaneously I was reminded that my love for manga still has yet to develop, and there are many challenges ahead. Next year, I need to improve my ability to draw, read, judge, and the sales figure.
  • FURUNAGA Shinichi
    Scholar of Literature and Associate Professor, Tokyo Metropolitan University
    The Thing I Felt the Most in Awards…
    An Impressive group of masterpieces were left as 50 works were narrowed from 948. We carried on against the daunting challenge, and after the long deliberation process, the masterpiece Kakukaku shikajika (So-and-so, Such-and-such) won the Grand Prize.
    I renewed my conviction that timing is essential for awards, and some works are difficult to be recognized. For example, Otouto no otto (My Brother's Husband) was awarded without much ado an Excellence Award in comparison, since LGBT issues are receiving attention presently. Without doubt, the work itself is admirable, but it is a great example of how the current situation positively influenced the outcome. My recommendation is to see the continued serialization to determine the work as a true masterpiece or greatest oeuvre. As such, I imagine next year to be another high-level contentions.
    Allow me to grossly categorize the works into "entertainment" that focused on amusement and "real" that dissected social conditions. In the latter, the impressive work Kenko de bunkateki na saiteigen no seikatsu (Maintain the Minimum Standards of Wholesome and Cultured Living) depicted the struggles of a rookie caseworker. Capturing the social problems of illegally receiving welfare benefits, this work demonstrated the steadfastness of an "occupational manga" genre. Additionally, How are you?, a Heisei version of Koware yuku onna (A Woman Under the Influence), brilliantly depicted a female foreigner lost after her husband suddenly disappears. Joshi kousei ni korosaretai (I want to be murdered by a high school girl) appears to be from "entertainment" for depicting the perverted sexual delusions of full-on Thanatos drive, and yet hinting at an eerie "realism" of the current milieu in which tabloids demonize male molesters and men who pay to date young women.
    Lastly, the self-published manga in such forms as Dojinshi were extremely bountiful. Many notable works exemplified the wide-ranging variety of manga. Though ultimately not awarded, many works showed the healthy state of nonsense manga and reaffirmed the charm of one-frame manga. Without entries from online manga this year, such as the four-frame manga that use animation, expect breakthroughs when this field develops and creates more masterpieces.
  • SUGAYA Mitsuru
    Manga Artist and Professor, Kyoto Seika University
    New Polemics of Digital Manga
    948 entries applied to the manga category, the highest in its history. This impressive quantity of application also indicates the immensity of published works, but it is premature to become content. Presently, the sales of manga books are declining. As such, the publishers are increasing the number of publications to ensure revenue. However, the revenue from manga sales are said to be slightly increasing while the overall revenue from the publication business continues to slump. Reason being, the revenue from digital works sold as e-books are expanding its sales. To symbolize this fact, many of the manga published in a book or in magazine serializations are also sold in digital formats. Additionally, in comparison to last year that saw many applications of vertical scrolling manga, this year's majority was one or two page spread manga similar to analog works. This trend is definitely brought about by the increasing resolution of liquid crystal displays. When digital works are drawn on the same page composition as analog works, no cost is incurred when published in book form. Due to this trend, it is visibly evident that the refreshing novelty of digital works is decreasing. Not all, but many of the works also appeared to have similar patterns and line-weights as having used the same software and equipments. It can be said that this trend makes apparent the loss of uniqueness essential to manga. If one is to imagine that the increasing number of manga is linked to the rational evolution of digital animation technology, then I cannot rejoice honestly. In that respect, this year's award recipients were all full of personality. Inevitably, we are naturally drawn visually and emotionally to exemplar uniqueness after reading through so many works. Grand Prize winning Kakukaku shikajika (So-and-so, Such-and-such) by HIGASHIMURA Akiko is truly such work only possible by this artist. As someone teaching at an art university, I was intrigued by the concept of behaviorism, a form of repetitive-pattern training in psychology, similar to boot-camp training in military. However, I just wept as I completely forgot about my social position. Of the four Excellence Awards, I was attracted to Awajima hyakkei (A Hundred Scenes of AWAJIMA) by SHIMURA Takako. The composition is skillful and it is a work that does not cease to provide enjoyment. Otouto no otto (My Brother's Hus-band) by TAGAME Gengoroh surprised me slightly as someone who knew his previous works, for the transformation towards a warm and tender style influenced by the transition to a general manga magazine. GODA Yoshiie's Kikai jikake no ai (Machinework Love) is another acclaimed work, but I thoroughly admire the artist's determination to keep drawing high-quality short stories in the current manga industry with a strong tendency towards extra long serializations, much less on the exhausted theme of robots. I was initially worrisome about the rough drawing technique by markers in Non-working City but the author's (an architect from Macau) delineation of buildings especially was superb. Finally, I was overwhelmed by the sheer power of what those images were trying to convey.
    Of the three New Face Awards, I was most drawn to Machida-kun no sekai (The World of Machida-kun) by ANDO Yuki. The carefree personality of the main character, MACHIDA-kun, is hard to dislike as it reminds us of the movie Forrest Gump. It is a new type of work that can be described as a psychological manga and its future development is promising. Many voiced their opinion that esoragoto (Absurd Ideas) by nerunodaisuki "looked like 'Garo' magazine". Self-published manga contains not only referenced works but also many unique works like this one, and it is regrettable other authors didn't apply. Tamashii Ippai (Lots of Life) by OKUYAMA Yuka first appears to be like a blog manga or self-published manga, but there is an uncanny quality as one reads on. Sannen-me (Third year) was particularly good since I love the classic Japanese comedy.
  • KADOKURA Shima
    Manga Journalist
    Manga is Made by the ‘Body’
    The "brain" alone cannot create manga. Even if a masterpiece is completed in one's "brain", it takes the "body" countless hours sitting and drawing by hand to bring the work into the world. Same goes for the digital production. I would like to remind this simple truth to all creators globally now that the medium of manga has reached its maturation; the selection of Kakukaku shikajika (So-and-so, Such-and-such) for the Grand Prize was also an indication of that personal feeling. This year's 948 manga category applicants were all propelled by this act of "drawing" and I express my respect for all of them. Particularly, the Excellence Award winner Non-working City is a tour-de-force borne from persistently pursuing the "drawing".
    This was my first year as a jury member. The impassioned discussion there can be summated as being thoroughly fun. Of course it is enjoyable to read manga, but it is even more enjoyable to seriously talk about them; more serious the better. Though contents may differ, I repeatedly experienced the special quality of manga as a medium empowered to pursue the meaning of "fun".
    One thing that concerned me was how artists were unmindful about their mediums, notwithstanding that there were three meticulously separated categories: "Comics published in book form / comics published in a magazine"; "online manga"; and "self-published manga". I hope artists will emerge who are mindful about creating powerful works in search for unique expressions possible only to each medium, whether paper or web, that maintain its potency within the overarching framework of manga. Furthermore, I firmly believe this festival is the opportune platform to excavate those talents.
    This year marks the 19th session, and there is an emerging sense of what is expected from both the judges' and applicants' sides. Though not necessarily a bad thing for awards to have certain tendencies, I have expectations for next year onward to encounter powerful works that will transcend our tendencies.
  • INUKI Kanako
    Manga Artist and Visiting Professor, Osaka University of Arts
    This Year’s Characteristics and the Future Prospects
    It is a very joyous thing to see that the number of applications is increasing every year. This year, close to 1000 applied, and I looked forward to reading all of them. However, I was worried evaluations would be inconsistent as there were many pieces comprised of multiple volumes to go through the vast quantity of works under constrained time. I believe the jury members were able to help each other as we thoroughly exchanged opinions and referenced each other's impressions.
    Alas, it is human who decides after all. Our preferences are very divisive. Though some works had to be dropped regrettably under one's assessment of the situation, it was interesting to see how one can observe this year's increasingly elucidated characteristic. First of all, the number of online manga and self-published manga decreased dramatically. Perhaps this decrease was due to the fact that last year had multiple works submitted by the same artist. Even as the applications from self-published manga decreased, the quality was extremely high and excited us the jurors. This year, self-published manga were no longer a collection made by those who couldn't be professionals, but a gathering of artistic and literary works that commercial publications would have difficulties handling! I read them with great affection, as I was overwhelmed by their liberated imagination and creativity. On the other hand, the direction of online manga has a tumultuous road ahead. I have high hopes for online manga as the new media of the future, but also recognize the problem with judging the hardcopy manga and online manga together under the same scale. As many professional works begin as a book, which then gets converted to digital versions, there are no reasons to differentiate between paper and digital. Some works were indiscernible if done by a professional or an amateur, and contributed to the overall low quality of online manga. Having said that, there were certainly some works that would not have been possible on paper. It is the reality, however, that there are very little leeway to consider the future prospects manifested in prototypes that may be experimental or in research phase, since some jurors demand high quality only from paper manga. Though I may be a juror, I have not forgotten my soul as a manga artist; I dream the possible futures and jump onto works if they are simply interesting, not just because of narrative construction or technical levels. I have greater anticipations for manga that will surpass the paper version.