TEZUKA OSAMU CULTURAL AWARD: “ Land ” wins first manga prize at Tezuka Osamu awards: The Asahi Shimbun
Kazumi Yamashita’s ‘Land’, a compelling story interwoven with social issues facing modern Japan, won the Manga Grand Prix at the 25th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Award.
Sponsored by The Asahi Shimbun Co., the contest honors “Astro Boy” creator Osamu Tezuka and the indelible mark he left on Japanese manga culture.
The Originality Award, awarded for new talent and new ways of expression, went to manga writer Kanehito Yamada and illustrator Tsukasa Abe for their “Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End”.
The prize for the short story went to Hiroko Nohara’s works “Kieta Mama-tomo” (A Missing Mother Friend) and “Tsuma ga Kuchi o Kiite Kuremasen” (My Wife Will Not Speak to Me).
The Asahi Special Award went to “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” by Koyoharu Gotoge.
The awards ceremony will take place on June 3 at the Asahi Shimbun Headquarters in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo.
Each winner will receive a bronze statue. The Manga Grand Prix winner will also take home 2 million yen ($ 18,400), while the Special Prize winners Originality, Short Story and Asahi will each receive 1 million yen.
Manga titles published or released in Japan in 2020 were eligible for the awards. For the best Manga Grand Prix, eight judges each awarded a total of 15 points and no more than five to a manga. Nine titles with the most points were put forward for the latest round of online deliberation, along with a title that ranked first in recommendations from bookstore staff and many experts.
GRAND PRIX MANGA
“Land” centers around An, a girl who grew up in a village known as “Konoyo” (this world), where large statues of deities stand in its four corners. She breaks the local taboo and sees “Anoyo” (another world) on the other side of the mountains. As the world of the villagers is shaken by this development and plunged into confusion and conflict, An and his companions move towards a new future.
Kazumi Yamashita made her professional debut in a girls’ manga anthology in 1980 before writing comic magazines for young adult men.
She has found success with âThe Life of the Genius Professor Yanagizawaâ and âFushigi na Shonenâ (Wonder Boy), both of which feature an independent story for each episode. But she broke new ground with “Land”, an epic tale that spans 11 volumes.
âI was told to ‘finish with the third volume’ because it didn’t generate a lot of interest when I started serializing it,â Yamashita said. âBut then it started to sell unexpectedly and survived, perhaps because readers were surprised by the end of the first volume. I’m glad I was able to complete the story to the very end. . “
The problems facing modern society are incorporated into the fascinating story; for example, catastrophic disasters, radioactive waste, inequalities and senility. The artist also found herself ahead of her time when she presented a city under “lockout” following the emergence of an unknown virus.
âI was stunned. I saw the news and thought to myself, ‘What’s going on? “”, Did she say.
When she learned that “Land” had been nominated for the award, Yamashita said she thought maybe it was because the theme of the manga didn’t differ too much from Tezuka’s works. However, this is not “humanitarianism,” she said.
“It’s nihilism. Or ‘nothingness’, maybe,” she added. “With or without advanced science and civilization, the nature of humanity will be the same. I think Osamu Tezuka looked at humanity from a distant point of view, as if to say, we are what we are after all. . “
Written by Kanehito Yamada and illustrated by Tsukasa Abe, “Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End” centers around Frieren, a tribal mage with longevity. She sets out on a journey to revisit the traces of the war in which she defeated the Demon King.
Yamada made his professional debut after winning an award for emerging talent in 2009.
âIt’s not a flashy story, but I will continue to work hard to keep readers entertained,â he said.
Abe made his business debut in 2017.
“This title made me realize the guidelines of my life as an illustrator,” said the designer.
SHORT STORY AWARD
Hiroko Nohara’s “Kieta Mama-tomo” tells the story of a group of friendly moms whose relations become strained when one of them disappears. âTsuma ga Kuchi o Kiite Kuremasenâ presents a situation where the wife has stopped talking to her husband, which is told from everyone’s point of view.
The author made his professional debut with “Musume ga Gakko ni Ikimasen” (My daughter will not go to school), released in 2013.
âI was thrilled to read ‘Mighty Atom’ when I was little, and I used to sing the song Atom (from the adaptation of the animated TV series called ‘Astro Boy’) when I was raising my child, âshe said. “This award is my third Atom. I thought I had been encouraged by Atom my whole life.”
ASAHI SPECIAL PRICE
Featuring fierce battles between âoniâ demons and humans, âDemon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba,â spanning 23 volumes, has more than 100 million printed copies, including digital editions.
âDemon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train,â an animated feature film adaptation that hit theaters last fall, has become the highest grossing film of all time in Japan. The second season of an animated television series will air later this year.
Koyoharu Gotoge’s first manga series which debuted in 2016 became a mega-hit, taking Japan by storm.
“I am deeply grateful to those who have supported me, to everyone who has been involved in the publication of my comics, and to everyone in the production of the anime adaptations,” said the author.