©︎ curryzawa kaoru/kodansha

24th Manga Division Excellence Award

HITORIDESHINITAI (I Want to Die Alone)

CURRYZAWA Kaoru[Japan]

Outline

A woman seemingly at the top of her game—single and successful on the frontlines of a major company and now enjoying her leisurely life after retirement—is found at home a particular kind of dead: kodokushi, the solitary death. The delayed discovery of her corpse, her depleted funds, and an estate that fits into a single cardboard box shocks the woman’s niece and beneficiary, 35-year-old office woker YAMAGUCHI Narumi. Though she at first goes spouse hunting for fear of a lonely, unhappy life (a path her coworkers recognize as the oversimplification), Narumi course-corrects from preparing for nuptials to preparing for death. Determined to avoid her aunt’s mistakes and get the last say in life, Narumi discovers that dying well means living well. A socially-conscious comedy that delivers practical tips with the laughs, HITORIDESHINITAI (I Want to Die Alone) unflinchingly scrutinizes our shared, oft-avoided anxieties about the future, marriage, old age, solitary death, and other modern issues while interrogating so-called universal values and common sense. An illuminating work in our super-aging society.

Reason

A gag comedy that combines clashing elements of death and laughter in a delightful, easy-to-read manga. With her outstanding command of language, the artist cuts to the heart of weighty themes like aging and solitary death and urges today’s readers to reconceptualize dying. With her simple art style, the artist leverages the medium’s strengths to convey a nuanced story in an easy-to-follow tempo, and the light romance makes for a rom-com sensibility perfectly balanced as a piece of entertainment. CURRYZAWA Kaoru debuted with Kremlin (Kodansha, 2010), and has continued to produce unique manga, including the cynical yet moving Kimi ni kawareru mae ni (Before You Take Me, Nihonbungeisha, 2020). With an outstanding sense of language, she is also active as a columnist with publications such as Makeru gijutsu (Technique to lose, Kodansha, 2014) and Heya kara denaide 100-nen ikiru kenkoho (Health tips to live 100 years being shut in the room, Akita Shoten, 2019), and recognized as one of the most remarkable writers now. This work may as well be a how-to-adult handbook, in which she offers insights into surviving with dignity. (KAWAHARA Kazuko)