The winner of this year’s International Manga Awards was Thai artist Kosin Jeenseekong for his work “Listening to the Bell,” one of 47 entries that came from Thailand. Jeenseekong became a professional illustrator in 2008 after studying art in college. His winning manga is about a rock drummer who becomes fixated with traditional Thai instruments.
Almost all major awards came from developing countries in Asia. The silver awardees were Thai artist Ittiwat Suriyamart for “Melon Seed School Vol. 3,” Chinese artist Yao Wei for “Floating Flower” and Indonesian artist-writer duo Muhammad Fathanatul Haq and Ockto Baringbing for their manga called “Five Minutes Before Airing.” The eleven bronze awardees, on the other hand, hailed from China (3 winners), Taiwan (2 winners), Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Spain, France and Burkina Faso.
The International Manga Awards began in 2007 with the aim of promoting Japanese manga culture overseas, as well as recognize talents in comic books published outside Japan. The thrust, really, is to honor commercially successful artists rather than to promote new ones. This year, it garnered 245 entries from 38 countries. The results were announced by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on February 1, and the awards ceremony will be held in Tokyo tomorrow, February 8.