Award-winning Works
Manga Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • KADOKURA Shima
    Manga Journalist
    New Talent is Everywhere
    There was an intense competition for this year's New Face Award (in the Manga Division, artists with ca- reers shorter than about 10 years eligible). In the field of immensely talented young creators, KUNO Yoko, MASUMURA Jushichi, and ITAGAKI Paru--who each possess a unique and wonderful personality--came away with the award.This is good news for both the award and the manga world. I am so pleased that I can end my three-year term as a juror with the thrill of knowing that the talents of young manga artists will bloom further as they continue their careers, and that more new talent will continue to appear. A great benefit for me personally was hearing about the passion that other jurors have for manga dur- ing the screening process.In the short span of three years, the manga world has changed significantly. Perhaps most remarkable is how web-based manga shared via social media is flourish- ing. A work of a modern manga artist (professional or amateur) is shared on social media as soon as it is fin- ished, gains online popularity, becomes a serial or book collection that gets commercially published and be- comes a hit--this process has become so established that it scarcely needs mention here.That being said, stories published on social media did not account for a high proportion of the works that were submitted for this award, so it seems hard to say that today's manga trends are being directly reflected here. Considering the nature of this award, which welcomes works equally, regardless of where they were published or whether or not they were released in book form, this makes me feel gloomy. Since the only way to submit is by self-recommendation, perhaps the time has come for us to work harder to ensure that we inform writ- ers whose areas of activity are outside of commercial publications about the existence of the awards and en- courage them to want to submit.Of course, it is impossible to look at every interesting manga that exists in the world, but as a person who loves manga, I feel once again that I wish this award could get as close to that lofty ideal as possible.
  • SHIRAI Yumiko
    Manga Artist
    Beyond the Ripped Canvas
    This was my first experience as a juror. Honestly, at first I felt awkward about it, but the Excellence Award (now the New Face Award) I received for Tenken-sai created various possibilities for me, so I figured it was time to give something back.Once I started screening, I found the pressure to be tremendous in terms of both content and quantity. Every submission was dense, offering various types of appeal. I found myself stunned by manga the likes of which I'd never seen before and moved to tears by popular stories that I hadn't read earlier. Anyway, I came up with my own benchmark and strove to evaluate all the works fairly.Even so, once the five of us met and the screening process began progressing, a trend seemed to emerge in which the evaluations of several jurors came together. It was as if the world were a canvas, and these stories were cleanly ripping that canvas open to see what was behind it. Many things were visible behind that canvas, perhaps a blue sky, perhaps emptiness, but the stories seemed to tell me that they had to be uncovered and seen. It was both mysterious and satisfying for me to witness this gathering of such works.There are many excellent works among the Jury Selections, including the richly and colorfully depicted masterpiece Fuichin Zai jian! I have a pre-war publica- tion Manga Koza, in which the question of whether a woman can become a manga artist is posed. The book describes biased views such as "women don't under- stand humor" and "they don't have the discipline to last," and it concludes that women would be suitable for themes such as human drama, or love and beauty. Today, female manga artists create manga in all genres as a matter of course, but Fuichin Zai jian! Portrays, with conviction, women breaking through difficulties in an era when things were very different. Now the story has a conclusion, and I hope it is read widely.The readability of Ashiato-Tantei was a topic of dis- cussion. Many jurors recognized talent in the flowing sensibility of having to chase footprints. My experience on the jury made me newly aware of the inexhaustible potential of manga.
  • MATSUDA Hiroko
    Manga Artist
    Manga Is Endless
    It seems like we have been continuously told that manga is in a period of transition, but perhaps the current hot topic is reading manga for free on the Internet. It looks like the man- ga artists themselves will have to do something about the situation, but I think many manga artists wouldn't be manga artists in the rst place if they actually had legal negotiation skills or business management capabilities. I'm also one of them. The same is true for music, and as a result, the bookstores and record stores have disappeared from my neighborhood, and now drugstores and massage shops are excessively conspicuous. I guess everyone is struggling to maintain his or her own physical condition. I'm also one of them. Paper books and phonograph records are be- coming luxury items. In particular, I am hearing that, with scant hopes for short story sales, publishing companies are tending to avoid signing new titles. Like single songs that can change an era, I hear that there were many shocking manga short stories, but what now?The Grand Prize winner Nee, Mama (My dear, mom), the short story on mother-related themes, has a charm akin to hearing a classic concept album. It brings the ex- citement that results from a transition from calm daily life conversation to a wordless dramatic scene depicted on a two-page spread. It tells us how brilliant and lovely any moment in a person's life is. I don't want to let go of this luxury. I hope such brilliant short stories continue to be published and sold.Excellence Award winner UENO Kentaro is a gag artist who has long been known affectionately in the industry as someone who is a bit nuts. I hope this award will help his work sell like nuts, so that the light of his gags never goes out.I am joyful and grateful that tremendous young talents such as New Face Award recipient ITAGAKI Paru are still making their appearances in the manga world. I can't wait to give a copy of BEASTARS to all the pessimists saying that manga is dead, while tapping them on the shoulder and saying, "Wait until you read this before you say that."It has been three years since I became a juror, and shelved (deep in the back of the shelf) the question of whether I am even worthy to make judgments on other people's manga. Although there were copious failures, re- grets, soul searching, and embarrassments along the way, I'll shelve these, too, if there is any room left on the shelf.
    Manga Artist and Manga Researcher
    Virtually as Good as a Bouquet of 100 Flowers
    Simple life forms come into being on Earth. They under- go tremendous evolution, progress, and transformation, until all of a sudden there is an enormous number of living things on this planet that seem totally different, and you are shocked to think that these life forms at some point shared the same ancestor. We members of the Manga Division jury got a taste of a very similar experience to this sense of confusion that the scholars of the theory of evolution might have felt. I was deeply impressed by the over 1,000 submissions that crossed my desk.Each year brings groups of manga offering new ideas in new genres. This year in particular I was seized by feelings of doubt--can we really call all of these submis- sions "manga"? Around two years ago, I felt that paper manga evaluation criteria had broken down and the border between manga and animation was becoming obscure. On the other hand, old-school works depicted with simple lines will never die out. Today, with anyone being able to use a computer to draw and publish their own work on the Internet, we are in an era where the line between professional and amateur has become meaningless. Where will manga go from here? At the very least, I myself am at a loss to predict anything. That being said, the works that caught the jury members' at- tention (from out of the chaos) floated up magnificently, and were worthy of being selected for the 21st Japan Media Arts Festival. I am confident and greatly pleased that the manga submissions selected after surviving the screening process are outstanding works indeed.IKEBE Aoi's elite abilities as a manga artist were dis- played as she won the Grand Prize for Nee, Mama (My dear, mom), and another of her works, Zassoutachi yo taishi wo idake (Ambitious Ordinary Girls), was a Jury Selection. The calm sensations produced somewhat "Japanese" illustration style set her ahead of the rest of the pack. IZU Toru, author of Excellence Award win- ner Ulna at the Emplacement is another capable artist who had been an award candidate many times in the past. This feature-length story always keeps the reader guessing as to where it is leading; it is science fiction, and yet it has an oddly realistic quality. The tale earned its award by grandly pumping up the jury's expecta- tions.