17th Manga Division Excellence Award
MOCHIZUKI Minetaro / Original author: YAMAMOTO Shugoro [Japan]
MOCHIZUKI presents a new interpretation of YAMAMOTO Shuguro’s period novel Chiisakobe, transplanting the Edo era in the original with a modern setting. A young carpenter, Shigeji, who lost his parents and his father’s building company called Daitome in a fire, swears to himself he will rebuild the company according to the words of his father, Tomezoh, “What is important for people throughout the ages is humanity and strength of will”. He hires Ritsu, who has no place to go, as an assistant at Daitome. Some children from an orphanage, who lost their home, also show up at Daitome. the beaded young carpenter’s decision to take over his family’s business. It’s a drama filled with the milk of human kindness.
Reason for Award
The original novel Chiisakobe by YAMAMOTO Shugoro is a 70-page story, one of his major works which has since been made into a movie, a stage drama and a TV drama. A young carpenter, Shigeji, who lost his parents in a fire braces himself up to rebuild his family’s business, but he doesn’t ask for help from people around him. Why is he so stubborn? What will happen with the love triangle among his childhood friends? Although you can find out these answers in the original novel, you will still feel great anticipation with the approach taken in this manga version.
The story is told in a quiet manner. Some distinctive expressions with MOCHIZUKI’s own dramatic interpretation stand out in this manga version such as inserting a sudden close-up panel and depicting characters’ behavior in a strange way. His previous work Tokyo Kaidoh (Tokyo Suspicious Kids) was full of young kids with a strange presence. In this work the kids adopted by Ritsu also have something mysterious about them and the entanglement between the main characters and the kids (which is not clearly depicted until the end in the original novel) reflects their “humanity and strength of will” and disconsolate feelings, and is a big part of this fascinating work.
All jury members were in agreement that this work is superb in depicting “the joys and sorrows of ordinary citizens” in modern times. (SAITO Nobuhiko)