19th Manga Division Grand Prize
Kakukaku shikajika (So-and-so, Such-and-such)
HIGASHIMURA Akiko [Japan]
This autobiographical work follows a girl who dreams of becoming a girl’s manga artist, to her dream coming true, and her life thereon after. Aspiring to enter an art university, HAYASHI Akiko, a high school senior who is confident about her drawing skills, starts to take lessons at an art class near the sea. From the beginning, the instructor, HIDAKA Kenzo, demonstrates a powerful persona uncharacteristic for a drawing teacher. As soon as he saw her sketches, he lifted his bamboo sword and exclaimed how bad her drawings were. This is how the story begins between HIDAKA the teacher and Akiko. Together with the countless memories of the teacher who significantly influenced the artist, the story continues through the high school and college days, until she debuts as a manga artist. Her passion for “drawing”manga makes this work filled with laughter and tears throughout episodes and unique characters.
Reason for Award
HIGASHIMURA Akiko depicts herself as the subject. Her large oeuvre pays careful attention “how” to depict people around her as characters and “how” to humorously capture her experiences in manga. However, the most important character for her and this story, HIDAKA, has never been portrayed before. The artist had long cultivated his memories, and through the maturation of her creativity, her “personal experiences” have been sublimated into a “universal story” we all can relate to. The artist is encouraging all working people through HIDAKA’s phrase, “keep drawing”. Reminding other artists and all of us that “you have to keep moving your hands to make anything”. Though this work has previously received the “Cartoon grand prize 2015”, the jury was so touched by the series finale that we decided to award the Grand Prize. Even after the conclusion of this series, HIGASHIMURA Akiko began her first historical piece and detective series, and shows no sign of slowing down. This work undoubtedly is poised to be a momentous piece in her life. (KADOKURA Shima)