The 13th Japan International Manga Awards


When you think of “manga”, the genre of comics created in Japan may come to mind. However, did you know that high quality manga is being created all over the world?


Last month, I attended the 13th Japan International Manga Awards, where 4 winners were selected from hundreds of submissions from around the world. At first, I expected that many of the submissions would be from China and South Korea (both are countries with popular localized versions of manga, called Manhua 漫画 or Manhwa 만화 respectively), or other East Asian countries. I was surprised to learn that many of the winning works and runner-up nominations came from artists in countries such as Israel, Brazil, Spain, and even far flung countries in Africa and the Middle East such as Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Egypt!

先月、私は第13回日本国際漫画賞の授賞式に参加し、そこで世界中から寄せられた何百もの応募の中から4人の受賞者に会いました。 最初は、応募作品の多くが中国か韓国(漫画のローカルバージョンが人気のある国であり、それぞれ、「マンフア」と「マンワ」と呼ばれています)からのものであると予想していましたが、他の東アジアの国々からの応募もありました。受賞作品や準優勝ノミネート作品の多くがイスラエル、ブラジル、スペインなどの国のアーティストからであり、そしてさらにはナイジェリアやアフガニスタンやエジプトなどのアフリカや中東の遠い国々からの応募作品もあることを知って驚きました!

In this blog article, I will share about my experience attending the awards ceremony and also what I have learned about the significance of manga internationally.


In front of a poster display of the winning international manga works.

Artists came from Thailand, Israel, Spain, Brazil, and their works are available in multiple languages including Hebrew, Thai, Spanish, and Portuguese.


Manga vs. Anime

A quick note to clarify the difference between Manga and Anime, as it can be easy for people unfamiliar with the Japanese language or the genre to get confused. Basically, Manga refers to a Japanese style of comic books and graphic novels, whereas Anime is the animated version of manga for film or television.

The Influence of Manga


Manga makes up over 40% of all published magazines and books in Japan, and 40% of the movies produced in Japan are anime. The content genre of manga and anime is a huge revenue generator – in 2018, the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association stated the Manga market was worth 441.4 billion yen (about US$3.96 billion), with the digital Manga market accounting for 44.9% of this (US$1.77 billion). These figures make the manga industry larger than the comics market in America!

日本で出版されたすべての雑誌や本の40%以上を漫画が占め、そして日本で制作された映画の40%はアニメです。 マンガとアニメは日本市場の巨大な収入源です - 2018年、日本新聞協会の話では、マンガ市場は4,414億円の売上価値があり、デジタル漫画市場はその44.9%を占めているとのことです。これらの数字は、アメリカのコミックマーケットよりも大きくなります!

The recent digitization and internationalization of manga and anime content have resulted in a large global audience. Where Western comics and cartoon animations are typically targeted at children and teenagers, manga and anime have a much wider audience from children and teenagers to adults.

マンガとアニメのコンテンツの最近のデジタル化と国際化により、世界中の多くの視聴者ができました。 欧米のコミックやカートゥーンは、通常、子供や10代の若者を対象としていますが、日本の漫画やアニメは、子供や若者から大人まで、はるかに多くの人に愛読されています。

In this way, manga provides an influential platform for the development of global cultures and for Japan’s “soft power” sharing Japanese pop culture and influencing avid fans of Japan. By reading and understanding manga from around the world, it is fascinating to explore how different social and cultural norms can still be expressed through manga storytelling.


Reading one of the winning international manga works on display at the awards ceremony.

About the International Manga Awards


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs founded the International MANGA Award in 2007 for the purpose of expanding international exchange and mutual understanding through the MANGA culture which is widely accepted around the world.
This award honors the MANGA artists who are contributing to the development of MANGA culture in the world.




The Gold Award winning work was from Israel.


Piece of Mind

©Guy Lenman
 Nimrod Frydman

With the creators of Gold Award winning manga, “Piece of Mind,” Guy Lenman and Nimrod Frydman.
ゴールドアワードを受賞した漫画「Piece of Mind」の作者である、ガイ・レンマン氏とニムロッド・フリードマン氏と一緒に写真を撮りました~

Korokke and The Girl Who Said No
【コロッケ そして「嫌だ」と言った少女】

©2019 Spaceman Project
 /Josep Busquet
 /Jonatan Cantero

I was most captivated by the Silver Award winning manga, “Korokke and the girl who said no” from Spain.

The journey of Korokke, a skilled Oni (devil) fighter who supports humans with good deeds, and Anzu, a girl who refused to accept the restrictive role that society tried to enforce upon her. I thought that the important message of this manga was very heartwarming and believe that it will inspire more people (especially girls!) to have the confidence to take charge of their own life and future. This manga is available in Spanish, English, French and Italian.

私はスペインのシルバー賞を受賞した漫画【コロッケ そして「嫌だ」と言った少女】に最も魅了されました。

善良で人間をサポートする熟練した鬼の「コロッケ」と、社会が彼女に無理強いしようとした強制的な生活を受け入れることを拒否した少女「アンズ」の旅についての話です。この漫画の大切なメッセージはとても心温まるものだと思い、自分の人生や未来に責任を持つ人が増えると思います。 この漫画は、スペイン語、英語、フランス語、イタリア語で翻訳されています。

Click HERE for the list of other winning works.

My Thoughts


It was wonderful to see so many talented young manga artists from all over the world recognized for their creative work. Meeting the young artists brimming with passion for their work was a refreshing experience. I never knew that so many countries had their own versiosn of manga! It was truly fascinating to see how artists from different countries and cultures used various innovative approaches to the genre. What this tells us is that no matter where you are in the world, creating and telling manga stories can transcend both national and cultural borders to bring people together. Once we think about all the ways people bond over and through visual manga storytelling (e.g.: fan clubs, manga conventions, and even just casual conversations), it is easy to understand how the manga world is a connected and shared space for people of all ages and backgrounds.

世界中から集まった才能あふれる若い漫画家たちがクリエイティブな作品を認められたのは嬉しいことでした。作品への情熱にあふれた若いアーティスト達との出会いは、素晴らしい経験でした。 こんなに多くの国が独自のマンガを持っているとは知りませんでした! 様々な国や文化のアーティスト達がマンガに対して革新的にアプローチをしたことを見るのは本当に素晴らしかったです。これらが私たちに伝えていることは、世界のどこにいても、マンガストーリーを作成して伝えることは、国と文化の境界を越えて人々を繋げることができるということだと思います。 マンガの物語を介して人々が結び付いていること(例えば、ファンクラブ、マンガコンベンション、そして単なるカジュアルな会話など)について考えると、マンガ世界が世代と環境にかかわらずすべての人々と繋がっていることが理解できます。

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About Rachel

Rachel Leng is COO and Co-Founder of SeiRogai, Inc., a Tokyo-based business consultancy & media production company. Previously, she was Leader of Business Development on the Investment Management team at a Japanese private equity fund, as well as Policy Analyst at a top think tank in Seoul, South Korea.

As an East Asia specialist and former Miss Singapore titleholder, Rachel is passionate about the potential of media to educate and raise awareness about history, culture, art, business, and societal issues to enhance mutual understanding.

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