©︎ Kei Itoi / Le Paradis / Hakusensha

23rd Manga Division New Face Award

hana to hoho (Flower and Cheek)

ITOI Kei [Japan]


This manga features Hohoko, a high school student who lives with her musician father. Yahiro, another student who helps in the school library along with Hohoko, is a fan of her father’s group, Hana to Hoho, and realizes who her father is. Hohoko, a book lover, and Yahiro, a music fanatic, write messages to each other in the school library, where private conversation is forbidden, and thereby gradually get to know each other. Hohoko is decidedly drawn to Yahiro, but what he really likes is her father’s music. The fact that he became friends with her because of her father weighs down on her heavily. Gradually, a secret about Hohoko’s mother that her father has kept from her, along with Yahiro’s views on love that result from past trauma, become clear. The two characters’ chance encounter constitutes the story of one summer in their lives, drawn with a touch of tranquility.

Reason for Award

This manga made me aware that the time has finally come for a spotlight to shine on everyday issues. Matters that the manga’s author, publisher and readers have all forgotten for so long are to be found here. The continued trend of commercial magazines being issued like regular publications requires that authors write and publish their work with regularity over a long period of time to gain as many readers as possible. The simple truth that people are curious about others’ feelings, and respond to them, The validates the ingenuity and effort that go into these creations can overshadow the simple truth that people are curious about others’ feelings, and respond to them. I find it especially meaningful that this work reminds readers of all those involved in bringing manga to them. (NISHI Keiko)