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Excellence Award

Mashiro no Oto (Sound of Snow White)



SAWAMURA Setsu is a Tsugarujamisen player who travels from Aomori to Tokyo with the threestringed instrument on his back. After the death of his grandfather, who was also his teacher, Setsu is unsure what sor t of sound to pursue on his own. This leads him to embark on a journey in search of musical direction, during which he encounters a variety of people. With this work RAGAWA Marimo, a driving force in the world of girls’ manga, has made her f i rst big splash in boys’ comics. Having declared that she always wanted to explore the world of the Tsugaru-jamisen.
Monthly Shonen Magazine Start of series: 6 December 2010 Issue-(series still in progress))





Born in 1990, RAGAWA made her debut with Time Limit. Among her most notable works are Baby and Me and Shanimuni-Go. Mashiro no Oto (Sound of Snow White) is currently being serialized in Gekkan Shonen Magazine. Another series, Itsudemo Otenki Kibun (Always a Fair-Weather Feeling), appears in the magazine Bessatsu Hana to Yume.

( 2012 )

Award Reason

This work is a fully realized portrait of the Tsugaru-jamisen (a three-stringed musical instrument from the Aomori region) via the soundless medium of manga. It not only displays a highly accomplished technique and inventive style of expression, but also seems to succeed precisely because of its silent form. Rather than sound, the work conveys the impressions and emotions that arise out of music. Thus it is a moving experience to read the work itself as it strives to approach the experience of listening to an actual performance. Moreover, while making use of the clichéd “competition” motif that is prevalent in boys’ comics, the story’s portrayal of characters struggling to attain higher levels of musical prowess resonates with the work’s own attempts to achieve a high level of expression in the manga genre.

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