There were many submissions to the manga division again this year. In the Web manga category, we saw many approaches that foreshadow the new era of mobile phones and the Web. We also saw great diversity and high-level, eye-catching presentations in the frame manga/independent category. In the feature manga category, we received more distinctive submissions this year than in previous years that represent today's times. Much to our delight, the selection was very tight. The five works that received the Grand Prize and Excellence Prizes are especially outstanding, including those that offer a sharp perspective to reflect our present times-that have the ability to expand the expressive range of manga, and others by talented experts. All of the works are outstanding and incorporate a fresh vision, extensive research, and high-level skill; and the competition for the Grand Prize between VINLAND SAGA and Hyouge-Mono was very strong. The former is based on the history of Northern Europe and undoubtedly walks along the true road of entertainment. Although the latter depicts the history of the Warring States period in Japan, as a production set in those times, it unusually presents a totally fresh viewpoint by portraying warlords not on the battlefield, but as people who loved the utensils used in the tea ceremony. Both works deserve recognition as Grand Prize recipients that the screening sessions prolonged extensively. However, the decision was given to VINLAND SAGA by merely a difference of one vote. I think it was a good decision. Personally, I was delighted to get acquainted with so many excellent works during the screening process. I hope the awards will make the works attract the attention of as many people as possible, and expand the potential of manga.
Born in Shizuoka, 1958. After graduating from the Department of Graphic Design, Tama Art University in 1981, he entered Kirin Brewery Company, Limited and took charge of package design, advertising and other areas. In 1985, he debuted as a manga artist with Ereki na Haru (in book form). He is publicly known as a gag manga artist with his sense of parody. He became independent in 1994 and published fantasy and literary works, while working as a manga artist. His creative activities include essays, visuals, games and arts, among others. Since 2006 he has been Professor at the School of Progressive Arts in Kobe Design University.
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