21st Manga Division Excellence Award
Manga published in book form, in magazine
TAKAHAMA Kan [Japan]
In 1878, as the wave of Western culture spreads through Japan, in Nagasaki, Miyo, a girl orphaned in the Satsuma Rebellion works at a curio shop called Vingt. The dresses, sewing machines, binoculars, boots, and other items acquired at the Paris Exhibition by the proprietor KOURA Momotoshi have aroused her curios- ity. Miyo accumulates experience in her job while using clairvoyant ability which she has possessed since she was very young. The story vibrantly depicts a new age that visits a Naga- saki thriving with merchants and pros- titutes, centering on Miyo’s changes as she begins to experience feelings for Momotoshi akin to the awakening of love, and Momotoshi’s past, which gradually comes to light. Based on a thorough investigation of the history, things are depicted along with the colorful historical background of the period, and interesting facts about antiques that appear in the work are included as mini-columns. In these ways, the author’s knowledge is well utilized, enhancing the manga’s feel- ing of reality.
Reason for Award
The story depicts the maturation of the main character Miyo, who comes into contact with cutting-edge items at the beginning of the Meiji Era. The talented TAKAHAMA has used her superior literary touch to consistently create controversial works that con- front readers with the harsh, unfor- giving truth, earning her accolades from Japan to France. While a ro- mantic mood and splendor float up in the foreground based on TAKA- HAMA’s new phase of development, the reader comes to realize that this is no mere “heroine comes of age” story. However, there is no drowning in a sense of despair. Instead, the work as a whole is echoing the mes- sage that one must not turn away from the truth, and the faraway voic- es of adults saying, “It’s all right; join us.” The fact that “the world is vast and one is still ignorant” is portrayed not as a threatening thing, but in- stead as an honest aspiration. This is where the considerable appeal of this work lies. (MINAMOTO Taro)