Ceremony of the 10th Japan International MANGA Award

Reported by Isao Tokuhashi
Photos by Yutaka Toyama
Mail to: info@myeyestokyo.com



The season of “Nobel Prize of manga” also came this year.

The Japan International MANGA Award was set up in 2007, a desire of Mr. Taro Aso, the Foreign Minister then. Mr. Aso thought, “We want to give a ‘Nobel Prize for Manga’ as people from its birthplace to the young standard-bearers of Manga abroad”. In 2017, they marked the 10th anniversary of the award. 296 works were submitted from 55 countries/regions – the largest number ever. Moreover, works were exhibited from Estonia, Kuwait, Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada and Panama for the first time. The award ceremony was held on February 6th at Meiji University, in which one prize-winning work selected from 14 outstanding ones, 3 nominees awarded the Silver Award and one nominee awarded the Gold Award.


Mr.Kiyoshi Odawara, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, gave an opening address on behalf of Mr. Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister/Executive Committee Chairperson of the award.


Manga has the power to connect people. While anyone can draw cartoons simply using a pen and paper, manga can convey rich images that cannot be conveyed by words alone. I would like to broaden the circle of international exchange and mutual understanding through Japanese manga culture spreading all over the world – With this in mind, the Japan International Manga Award was founded 10 years ago. We’re much obliged if the recipients of this award will contribute to further development of manga and international exchange through manga in each country with this award.


Then the winners were announced.


Bronze Award

Secrets of the Ninja
Artist: Akiko Shimojima (Japan)
Story Writer: Seàn Michael Wilson (United Kingdom)


Brief review from Ms. Machiko Satonaka, Chairperson of the Jury of the Award;

“Surprisingly, Japanese are not so familiar with Ninja. It is a kind of ‘world of craftsmen’ which has been unknown to ordinary people. So it is a very unique work that made that unknown world into a manga carefully and faithfully.”


Silver Award

Artist: HAN Zuzheng (China)


Brief review from Ms. Machiko Satonaka;

“It is a wonderful pro-social work which portrays an old woman who lives in poverty with obsession and high-souled preparedness.”


Artist: Laura Iorio & Roberto Ricci (Italy)
Story Writer : Marco Cosimo D’amico & Laura Iorio (Italy)


Brief review from Ms. Machiko Satonaka;

“We thought that it was a story of the establishment of self-identity that goes beyond the ideas of time and space. Its theme is “What is existence?” and a character in this work gets very terrible sick, but the warmth underlying the work makes it deeper.”


Gateway to Underworld
Artist: Can Tieu Hy (Vietnam)


Brief review from Ms. Machiko Satonaka;

“A character in this work was suddenly sentenced to death. We fully realized the fear she had of her soul being sorted out. It really is a page-turning work.”


Gold Award


The Master of Arms
Artist: Joël Parnotte (France)
Story Writer: Xavier Dorison (France)


Brief review from Ms. Machiko Satonaka;

“It is full of blood, sweat, cold and hunger in a full story. Although the work itself is fiction, dramas strike people’s hearts more than truth. We learned that human beings have shaped history at risk to their lives through this work. I think that the author made it at the risk of his life as well.”


Ms. Machiko Satonaka, manga artist/Chairperson of the Jury of the Award said;


“We would like to say, ‘Manga readers, please pay more attention to the existence of those works because they were selected from ones made all over the world!’. We would be happy if we can do our best for the manga around the world with them and readers.”




After the ceremony, a party was held at a banquet hall. Each winner expressed their thoughts after a toast by Mr. Kiyoshi Odawara.


Xavier Dorison, Story Writer of “The Master of Arms” (France)


“I deeply appreciate the fact that this typical French story has earned a good reputation in Japan, a country on the other side of the world, and had the honor to have global resonance. This wonderful award gave vitality and excitement to Joël Parnotte (artist) and me. It is no doubt that this great pleasure will give us the power to strive for a further leap.”


HAN Zuzheng, Artist of “scavengers” (China)


“I am very pleased that I received such a high-level international award and my work was recognized in Japan, a manga power. It is very encouraging for me. Currently, I’m involved in manga as a job and it’s thanks to Mr. Takehiko Inoue. If I did not encounter his work called ‘Slam Dunk’, I wouldn’t love manga and art as much as I do now.”


Laura Iorio, artist of “THE HEART OF DARKNESS” (Italy)


“I grew up watching anime. I’ve deepened the joy of and the affection for painting. My imaginary skill was nurtured by Japanese manga artists since I was a child. For example, Hayao Miyazaki, the great Japanese manga artist, taught me to picture the magical world and visionary creatures in my mind.”


Roberto Ricci, artist of “THE HEART OF DARKNESS” (Italy)


“We won this prize, we were warmly welcomed by you, and we were greeted as members of this big family under the word “MANGA”, which unifies all of us – we deeply appreciate it.”


Can Tieu Hy, artist of “Gateway to Underworld” (Vietnam)


“In Vietnam, the manga industry has been developing. My work was awarded, so young manga artists will make more efforts and Vietnamese manga readers will have more confidence in their works.”


Also, a congratulatory message from Mr. Keiji Furuya, the chairperson of Parliamentarian Federation of Manga, Animation and Game was read out loud.

“We pray that all of us will spread manga, the world-class Japanese culture, across the entire globe together, and it will be disseminated at various scenes of international exchange.”


Winners visited publishers, animation studios, manga museums in Japan and went back home.



Related Link

Japan International MANGA Award:www.manga-award.mofa.go.jp


*Edited by Daniel Penso