Award-winning Works
Manga Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • OMOTE Tomoyuki
    Researcher, Kitakyushu Manga Museum
    Despite Changes in Industrial Structure, Manga is Power
    The expectation for the manga of Japan, whose main place of publication is magazines, is that it has power to draw readers in, even if they start reading midway through the story. In this regard, the Grand Prize win- ner ORIGIN has incredible power. While the images are drawn in great detail, they are organized in an easy- to-read manner. It is constructed at varying paces, involving both stillness and movement. The stable per- spective and composition prevent confusion even in dramatic action scenes. Laid-back humor is interwoven within the hardcore sci-fi drama... I started reading this halfway through the series, but it dragged me in. Of course, I got even more enthralled when I went back and read it from the top.With the decline of the magazine medium, we are seeing diverse ways in which manga is released. Many of the award-winners are manga series that ran on the Internet or are newly created pieces. Despite the changes in the industry structure, the power of manga remains unchanged. While they range in styles, they are all superior works that quickly draw in readers. It was challenging to rank them, but we tried to stay mindful of variety and balance. The unique role of these awards presented by The Agency of Cultural Affairs, I believe, is to highlight genres that are not mainstream but are important, and those that are mainstream but have very few submissions to this festival.Among the "jury selections," I would strongly rec- ommend Voy a contarte historias de un lugar lejano by SUDO Masumi. It brings a supernatural phenomenon into an ordinary rustic life and churns it to highlight the emotional interactions among the characters. By draw- ing lines with gaps in them and detailed landscapes with skillfully omitted parts, SUDO demonstrates her masterful ability to create both a solid sense of reality and airy softness. While she often creates short sto- ries, this is her first full-length story in a while. The story development is remarkable in that the first half nestles within the latter half, which has an even greater story line. It can be considered the culmination of the artist's work, packed with all of her talents. A highly recom- mended read.
  • KAWAHARA Kazuko
    Manga Essayist
    The Joys of Manga and of Talking about Manga
    I served as a jury member for the first time this year. The selection members with expert knowledge narrowed the selection from the 878 submissions down to 234. From these, it was our job to pick the award winners. I stretched myself to face the challenge. In the two meet- ings we had, I felt very impressed by the others' incisive comments and agonized over how best to communi- cate my thoughts on the merits of certain pieces. It was an experience that gave me a fresh reminder of how fascinating manga is--as is talking about it. The selec- tion that we made through such a process, I believe, demonstrates the diversity of today's manga.ORIGIN won high praises across the board. To dusk portrays the pathos of life with rich affect. Nagi's Long Vacation uses adorable images to offer a keen depiction of todays' 30-ish woman. Spacebattleship Tiramisu, which has a serious drawing style but ridiculously comi- cal stories, helped relax our tension-filled discussions. The Invisible Difference is brilliant in its use of stylish drawings and its color schemes matching the charac- ter's inner world. The intensity of KIIROI ENBAN (Yellow Disk) blew me away.In MOMO & MANJI, a rich knowledge about the Edo culture is elevated through the artist's drawings into a form of entertainment in the genre of boys' love (BL), which has had a rich history of being cherished by (mostly) women readers. I feel it profoundly moving to be able to recognize this work that has blossomed greatly within this genre. And it is through BL comics that a 75-year-old woman and a high school girl develop a friendship in metamorphose no engawa. I was deeply touched by the portrayal of subtle struggles and joys of having something in common to share with somebody.I also want to mention MADGERMANES, which eas- ily drew me in despite my original expectation of it being a difficult read, and Warera Contactee, about a group of individuals in a small corner of the world struggling to launch a rocket. These did not win but were in a close competition for the awards.
  • SHIRAI Yumiko
    Manga Artist
    As a Second-year Jury Member
    Although this is my second year as a jury member, I've hardly gotten used to it. The intense jury process is over, yet a raging storm remains in my mind, wonder- ing if I had misread or forgotten to say anything. Manga made with superior drawing skills, story, characters, or theme, one that makes you laugh, has drama, that's mysterious, well made, fiction, nonfiction, long-running serials, short stories that sparkle, self-published work, etc., etc... There are so many of them flying around, and the second you miss catching one, it instantly fades into the distance. It's excruciating. That said, I believe we ended up with works that are each unique and excep- tional in its own way.After my second year participating, what was dis- appointing is that pieces we saw last year for which we needed to see a proper ending ended up with a wonderful conclusion, but they were not submitted this year. It makes me realize that these submission-based awards are such a matter of chance. I myself have ap- plied to these contests many times, and it is not fun getting let down so many times. But as a jury member, I cannot help but wish that more submissions are made.In closing, I will name some works that have left an impression on me.One that I felt the most moved by was MADGER- MANES by Birgit WEYHE. The story is based on the real experiences of laborers who came to East Ger- many from Mozambique, Africa in the 1980s. They were promised first-class education, but what they arrived to was hard menial labor and exploitation by the middle man. This is not an issue that is unrelated to us or from a long ago. Three Mozambicans endure being tossed about and hurt, yet each struggles to live. They are por- trayed through a style that is at times humorous and at times dramatically mournful. I wish for everyone to read this exceptional graphic novel.Warera Contactee by MORITA Rui is a factory town sci-fi story that has great momentum both in its draw- ings and story. The clever composition draws you in. I have great expectations for the future of this artist.
  • NISHI Keiko
    Manga Artist
    Pointing to the Future of Manga
    I am struck by the fact that, in all genres today, there are so many works of manga that are not available in paper form.I have heard that, even for large publishers, finding artists and writers via the Internet is now becoming a significant part of a company's business model. I'm re- alizing that we are coming to the end of those graceful, slower-paced times in which companies nurtured cre- ators so that they would eventually yield great profits.I believe this trend is probably advantageous for the artists, but also for the publishers, who can acquire works with profit potential right away without having to nurture the artists. I suspect that this will perhaps ulti- mately lead publishers to gradually lose their individual flavors in exchange for their survival.With regard to the content of the manga, I was re- lieved to be able to confirm that no matter how the times change, what is considered important by the people who create the manga and those who read it remain unchanged. And this, I was also able to reaffirm, is something that most aligns with the dispositions of not any other country or people but those of Japan.I believe this is truly demonstrated by metamorphose no engawa, for which I wrote a critique. There are some who want to see manga go global, but the greatest sig- nificance of manga is to be enjoyed by the people of the country it was created in.This work underscores this belief of mine.I believe the future of manga lies not on the outside, but within the readers and creators.
    Manga Artist and Manga Researcher
    Remembering Your Roots No Matter How Far YouGo
    So as not to repeat the same thing every year, I'll keep my point short: manga is becoming increasingly global, diversified, and digitized, and its expansion seems to know no bounds.Let me share two stories. One is about Mr. Y, the managing director of Shochiku Kabuki. I met him be- cause a kabuki-version of my manga is being performed this June. I learned that the popular manga NARUTO will also be performed as a kabuki play in June at Minami-za in Kyoto. Perplexed, I asked, "You mean manga-based kabuki will be done at both Kabuki-za and Minami-za? I can't believe it!" To which Mr. Y responded, "Oh no, it's not unusual anymore. These days, many forms of art expressions like kabuki, films, TV dramas, plays, or literature are sourced from manga. We can't live without manga today." When I was an aspiring manga artist only 50 or so years ago, manga was at the very bottom of the hierarchy of art expressions -- ignored or made fun of. I saw those days. Has any genre ever grown this dramati- cally in so short a time? It feels almost frightening.The other story was from manga artist Mr. N. Al- though he had once been a popular artist who ran series in a certain weekly magazine for boys, he be- gan to question the excessive requests for changes in the rough drafts and the competitive commercialism. He thought, "Where has the fun and joy of creating manga gone? Manga's purpose should not be for ma- jor publishers to make money." He quit making manga for commercial magazines and has been creating self- published manga ever since. His perspective made a lot of sense to me. No matter how much the genre of manga grows, each piece has to start with the simple creative drive that Mr. N speaks of. I want to believe it is this drive that gave us the phenomenal "garden of the manga world" we see today.The Japan Media Arts Festival's Manga Division is extremely appealing in that it accepts submissions of works not only in commercial magazines, but also in self-published magazines. To dusk by SAITO Nazuna which won an Excellence Award, and a New Face Award-winner KIIROI ENBAN (Yellow Disk) by KIJIMA Tenshin are the polar opposite of mainstream. The Grand Prize winner ORIGIN by Boichi, a solid near- future robot sci-fi genre piece created with excellent drawing skills, was an easy choice for the top prize, supported by almost every jury member. I personally view it as "Astro Boy of the new age." Excellence Award winner Spacebattleship Tiramisu is another sci-fi piece with superior drawing skills. Despite its "utterly bone- head uncontrived humor," it scored high, surprising the jury member who nominated the work. MOMO & MANJI is in a way the most controversial piece, and it is time that this type of work is recognized and valued. Nagi's Long Vacation by KONARI Misato is a brilliant piece that shows deep understanding of the young protagonist Nagi's loneliness and pain due to her inability to stop being "excessively sensitive to subtleties in the air" when it comes to relationships. I look forward to seeing how Nagi grows. Another New Face Award winner is meta- morphose no engawa by TSURUTANI Kaori. "Manga that's read cross-generationally" helps prevent today's major issue of "disconnect between generations." Here, again, the power of manga. For The Invisible Difference by MADEMOISELLE Caroline, I am grateful that it famil- iarizes us with Asperger syndrome's extremely subtle conditions. Of the jury selected works, WAKADANNA by SHIOKAWA Toko, FRAGILE The view of Keiichiro Kishi, a pathologist by MEGUMI Saburo, The Second Goldfish by panpanya, HIIRO NO BUNRAKU by KITA Komao, and awoniyoshi soremoyoshi by ISHIKAWA Rose also left a lasting impression on me.