14th Manga Division Excellence Award
Fuuunji tachi bakumatsuhen
Story manga [Japan]
Fuuunji-tachi bakumatsuhen (Heroes in the last day of the TOKUGAWA Shogunate). SAKAMOTO Ryoma is a fuuunji (hero) of great influence who was active at the end of the Edo Period. This series is a sequel to Fuuunji-tachi, a full-length manga series portraying the history since the unification of Japan by TOKUGAWA Ieyasu, going far back to the Battle of Sekigahara to unfold the life of Ryoma. At the end of the Edo Period, the situation had grown increasingly tense. The artist depicts the lives of many people who changed the history from his unique viewpoint by including comedy in a story based on historical facts. This is a landmark full-length history comedy manga series.
Reason for Award
The power of manga: Our window into tumultuous history
It is an easily accessible and enter taining series through which we can see the turbulent era of the last days of the shogunate. We can see historical research in the intricate details, bringing vividly to life the TOKUGAWA Shogunate, the 300 or so clans, and the western revolutionists.
Not one character is uninteresting or one that the reader can’t empathize with. By following these characters, the readers can gain an experience that is more realistic than any written story. That is the power of manga. The series opens with the arrival of Commodore Perry, and up to the 17th volume, we are still at the beginning of the Ansei Purge. No one is to say how many more volumes it will take until we see the Meiji Era, but the artist should not be rushed. The more we can all enjoy and savor the story of these characters the better. This series helps us understand how Japan opened its doors again and how it pushed “cultural enlightenment” to catch up with the rest of the world. It sheds some light on the similar problems we face today as a new wave of globalization hits modern Japan.