The Eighth International MANGA Award Ceremony was held on February 12 (Thu) at the Iikura Guest House. One Gold Award and three Silver Awards were given for a total of four works, with award cirtificates from the Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida, Chairman of the Executive Committee, presented by his representative Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kentaro Sonoura and trophies presented by Ms. Machiko Satonaka, Chairwoman of the Selection Committee.
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kentaro Sonoura stated in his address on behalf of the organizer, "Of all the attractive things that Japan has, manga and other forms of pop culture have powerful appeal worldwide. Manga is an easy-to-access "gateway" to diverse and profound Japanese culture, and an important asset that provides robust support for Japanese diplomacy by increasing the number of people who are 'friends of Japan.'"
Ms. Machiko Satonaka, Chairwoman of the Selection Committee, gave a review of the works, in which she stated, "If everybody in the world could read the same manga at the same time, I believe that we could get to know and understand the cultures of others through stories. I hope that manga will play the role of strengthening ties between people worldwide."
Mr. Nambaral Erdenebayar (Mongolia), who received the Gold Award, expressed his joy at receiving it in his acceptance speech, stating, "I created 'Bumbardai' not only for the children of Mongolia but also for millions of children around the world who are distancing themselves from nature and becoming obsessed with technology. I am determined to continue to learn from the Japanese experience with its rich tradition of manga and to further develop manga as an art form in Mongolia."
The ceremony was attended by Selection Committee members, Mr. Yoshimi Kurata, Ms. Kimie Shiga, Mr. Akira Hirota and Mr. Tsutomu Fujita and Executive Committee members, Mr. Satoshi Katayose, Ms. Saya Shiraishi, Mr. Kotaro Sugiyama, Mr. Hiroyasu Ando, President of the Japan Foundation and Mr. Frederik L. Schodt from San Francisco. Many famous manga artists, publishers and the people in the cultural circle, attended the ceremony and mingled with the award winners at the reception held immediately after the ceremony.
The award winners came to Japan under the Japan Foundation's Invitation Program, and enjoyed an itinerary filled with visits to publishing companies, animation studios, manga-related museums and the like in addition to the ceremony.