15th Manga Division Excellence Award
Ano-hi kara no Manga (Manga after 3.11)
SHIRIAGARI Kotobuki [Japan]
The “that day” referred to in the title is “March 11”; as the name suggests, it is a collection of short stories that were created and published at an astonishing pace in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. Amongst the four-frame manga published every day in the evening edition of the Asahi Shimbun were many that depicted the real state of mind and behavior of people at the time, based on the artist’s experiences of having visited the disaster-hit area as a volunteer. Moreover, the nuclear power issue has been taken up and turned into a work of fantasy that incorporates the author’s characteristic sense of the absurd and nuanced perspective.
Reason for Award
The reality of manga expression recorded since “That Day”
Was the world we believed in only a dream? Is the nightmarish now instead our true reality? From mass media to artwork, that day transformed everything into a hollow fiction. The artists who spin dreams all found that the wings they needed to fly were broken. But this artist drank in the hard-to-swallow new normal that came rushing in and recorded it in his manga without falling prey to either criticism or despair. The new awareness, fear, hopelessness and sadness that have burdened every Japanese since the day of the nuclear power plant accident have taken all sorts of expressive forms. For a manga that turns even the nuclear power plant itself into a character to succeed in depicting this gravest of incidents with such extraordinary realism is nothing short of astonishing. The work brings back the emotions of that time—which fade with each passing day but must not be forgotten—and even offers a sense of healing that brims with a prayer for revival. Very much of the moment, this work once again reminds us what manga are capable of.