Manga's value should be judged by each individual reader for each work. The value of the work itself does not necessarily change whether the manga is awarded a public prize or not. However, it is important to select works of the year and give prizes to commemorate them as "culture" with the following purposes: 1. By inviting excellent works from all over the world, we will establish mutual recognition of the diversity and development of manga culture as well as share its spirit as a universal language. 2. Because an excessive number of works are published every year, even excellent ones sometimes are overlooked without receiving deserved public attention. Therefore, this award can be used as an opportunity to remind readers to, "Please take notice of this work, if you have not yet read it." 3. Although Japan is a leading country for manga, most of the works introduced abroad are either "blockbusters" or "animated versions." We will let more people know that the charm and potential of Japanese manga exist in is "diversity," because Japanese open-mindedness towards recognizing different values has created an expansion of manga expression. Although I was hoping that the works from abroad would receive prizes as well, this year's entries were from even more competent works than previous years. We went through the fulfilling finalists screening with squeals of delight. The result of this year's awards, without any planning ahead, has turned out to be a lineup representing "diversity." I strongly hope that readers will not only read the award-winning works but also the short-listed ones (if they have not already). Online works have become more fruitful year after year. I look forward to presentations unique to digital products that are expressed differently from works on paper. Whether manga is rendered on paper or digital screen, any work is invigorated by "the essence of inspirational drama." Moving one step further from the considerations of "digital capabilities," we are now entering into a new age in which "the world of expression uniquely realized in a digital work enhances dramatic quality." I greatly anticipate the future of this field.
Born in Osaka. She received the first Kodansha Award for New Manga Artist with PIA NO SHOZO when she was still in high school. In 1974, she was presented a Kodansha Shuppan-Bunka-Sho for ASHITA KAGAYAKU and HIMEGA IKU! Major works: ASUNAROZAKA; AIJINTACHI; ARIES NO OTOMETACHI; GIRISHA SHINWA; and many others. Currently working on an illustrated book, TENJO NO NIJI, which depicts the world of MANYOSYU. Professor of the Character Creative Arts Department at OsakaUniversity of Arts, and Executive Director of Manga Japan.
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