ANN and other sites are reporting that Asahi Shinbun recently announced the winners of the 13th Annual Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, which honors the highest achievements each year in manga in Japan.
The grand prize was shared between two worthy and cool titles, Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga and A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.
The coolest part? Suehiro Maruo's book, Panorama-tou Kidan (The Strange Tale of Panorama Island) won the New Artist Prize! CONGRATS, UNCLE MARUO!
As I've blogged about before (and any self-respecting Same Hat reader should know), the book is a ~300 page adaptation of a novella by Japanese detective fiction godfather, Edogawa Rampo. The story takes place at the end of the Taisho era, and follows an unsuccessful science fiction author with an uncanny resemblance to a former classmate/son of a rich industrialist family. When the industrialist's son dies, the author fakes his own death, digs up and hides the other man's body, then washes himself up starving on a beach in a town where the dead man's family lives. After some more intrigue and scheming, he proceeds to take redirect all of their money to build a mysterious pleasure palace island, and live like a sensual weirdo king. Crazy and amazing stuff!
I've read this book 4 or 5 times now, and I absolutely love it--- It's by far Maruo's most elegant and beautiful line work to date, and his pages coupled with Rampo's excellent (albeit crazy/abrupt at the end!) and twisted tale = TOTAL WIN.
In addition to the prestige and bump in book sales, "1 million yen (US$10,000) goes to the winner of the New Artist Prize. The prize will be awarded to the winners in person on June 5 in Tokyo. FRESH.