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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Aso announces 'manga' award for foreign artists


Staff writer

As a noted lover of Japanese "manga" comics, Foreign Minister Taro Aso is wildly popular among comic and animation buffs who cheer his frequent public comments touting Japanese pop culture.

Now it seems Aso is trying to expand his popularity overseas as well. On Tuesday, he announced that the Foreign Ministry will set up an International Manga Award to honor non-Japanese cartoonists. The best manga creator will be chosen June 22, with an awards ceremony to follow in Tokyo on July 2.

"(I) want to make the award something like the Nobel Prize for manga (creators)," Aso told a news conference. "Not as much money will be given as for the Nobel Prize, but we'd like to invite (the winners) to Japan."

Foreign Ministry officials said the purpose of the award is to promote Japanese-style comics in other parts of the world.

Manga are characterized by their long, dramatic stories with refined drawings, many of which are targeted at adults as well as kids.

A screening committee consisting of Japanese manga cartoonists and editors will select the prize winner, the officials said.

No prize money will be given, but winners will be invited to Tokyo for about 10 days, with expenses paid by the ministry. Meetings with Japanese manga artists and publishers will also be arranged for them, the officials said.



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The Japan Times

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