©︎ Saito Nazuna

22nd Manga Division Excellence Award

To dusk

SAITO Nazuna [Japan]


To dusk is the first book in 20 years to come out from a manga artist who debuted at age 40 and is now over 70 years old. It contains eight stories from Penpen-zoushi (1992), in addition to Toraware no hito (“The Captive”) and Bocchi shi no yakata (“Bocchi Mansion of Death”) which came out in the 2010s. Among these stories which depict the lives of regular folk, the newest two portray earthly human desires with deep penetrating insight via dramas brimming with realism, highlighting both the reasonable and absurd natures of people and society. Toraware no hito captures “aging” from a unique perspective. The author gives a non-emotional portrayal of caring for aging family members and being with them as they die, based on her many years of experience, sublimating the story to an opportunity to think about human dignity. Bocchi shi no yakata takes place in a former bustling community that is now an old apartment building for the elderly living alone. While incorporating elderly people’s realistic, stingingly humorous conversations, it tackles the theme of “solitary death” with great sincerity.
Hanashi no Tokusyu (Hanashi no Tokusyu)
January 1991 issue-June 1992 issue
KITSCH (Self-published comic)
Issue 3.5, 2012
ax (SeirinKogeisha) Vol. 108, 2015
©Saito Nazuna

Reason for Award

These 10 stories are by a non-prolific author of solid skills. While eight are reintroduced from the book Penpen-zoushi (1992) and are each quite exquisite, the two newer stories created around 20 years later are outstanding. Toraware no hito is about a paranoid obsession of an aging woman facing death. As it brilliantly connects objective truths with the mother’s subjective thinking (delusions), before you know it, you are getting pulled into and feeling overwhelmed by the elderly mother’s internal rage at her disappointing life. In Bocchi shi no yakata, the lively exchanges among the elderly people living alone in an apartment hit us with the fact that no one’s life can be summed up in a few words. Noteworthy in both stories is the strange humor in things like the incoherent conversations, which allow for an effortless read despite the heavy subject matter. The solidness of the two works shows that the long hiatus did not atrophy, but rather deepened, the author’s abilities. It is a collection worthy of the award.