Yoriko Hoshi’s story of inner discovery, “Aisawa Riku,” took the Manga Grand Prix at the 19th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, The Asahi Shimbun announced March 31.

“Aisawa Riku” tells the tale of 14-year-old Riku Aisawa, an obsessive neat freak who has withdrawn into her own private world. She comes out of her shell as she experiences the warmth of people and the pathos of life after she moves in with relatives in the Kansai region.

After making a name for herself with “Kyo no Nekomura-san” (Ms. Nekomura today), Hoshi’s “Aisawa Riku” began running in 2014 in Bungeishunju Ltd.’s monthly Bessatsu Bungeishunju literary magazine. The pencil-drawn manga has also been published in two volumes.

Sponsored by The Asahi Shimbun, the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize honors legendary “Astro Boy” creator Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989), who left an indelible mark on manga and anime cultures.

The Originality Prize, given for fresh talent and novel mode of expression, went to Yoshitoki Oima for her “A Silent Voice,” released by Kodansha Ltd., while Sensha Yoshida received the Short Story Prize for his works.

The Asahi Special Prize, which is given to individuals or groups that made contributions to the development of manga culture, went to Chikako Mitsuhashi for “Chiisana Koi no Monogatari” (A little love story), published by Gakken Publishing Co.

An awards ceremony will be held May 22 at Tokyo’s Hamarikyu Asahi Hall. Each winner will be given a bronze statue. The Manga Grand Prize winner will also receive 2 million yen ($16,700) in prize money, while the winners of the Originality, Short Story and Asahi Special prizes will each receive 1 million yen.


By ATSUSHI OHARA (The Asahi Shimbun)

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