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Fumi Yoshinaga wins the 72nd Art Encouragement Prize for 'Ooku' & 'What Did You Eat Yesterday?'

Multi-award winning manga author Fumi Yoshinaga has won the 72nd Art Encouragement Prize for her profound works tackling gender issues.

By: Nicole S. Castro on March 09, 2022 at 17:27 PHT

Manga author Fumi Yoshinaga has won the New Artist award for the Media Arts Category for the 72nd Art Encouragement Prize from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) this 2022.

Yuri!!! On Ice: Ice Adolescence
Manga covers for Ōoku (L) and What Did You Eat Yesterday? (R) | PHOTO COURTESY: Comic Natalie

MEXT's Art Encouragement Prize or the Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists was established in 1950. These awards are presented to persons whose outstanding achievements have served as trailblazers in a given year. They each are awarded in 11 fields: drama, film, music, dance, literature, fine arts, broadcasting, popular entertainment, development of the arts, criticism, and media arts.

Yoshinaga bagged the award for the media arts category through her two manga series: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers (大奥) and What Did You Eat Yesterday? (Japanese: きのう何食べた?, Romaji: Kinō Nani Tabeta?).

Ooku was serialized in Hakusensha's josei magazine Melody from June 2004 to December 2020, with its chapters collected in 19 tankōbon volumes. The story follows an alternate Edo period of Japan, where a strange disease that only affects men has caused a massive reduction of the male population, changing the Japanese social structure as women have to fill traditionally male roles.

The Ooku manga won an Excellence Prize at the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival, a special prize at The Japanese Association of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy's fifth annual Sense of Gender Awards in 2005, and the 13th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2009.

Meanwhile, What Did You Eat Yesterday? has been serialized in the manga magazine Morning since February 2007. It focuses on Shiro Kakei and Kenji Yabuki, a middle-aged gay couple living in Tokyo, Japan. Both the manga and its live-action adaption in 2019 by Shochiku have received widespread critical acclaim, winning a Kodansha Manga Award, a Galaxy Award, and multiple Television Drama Academy Awards.

Source: Agency for Cultural Affairs official website, Comic Natalie




Nicole is based in the Philippines and works as a freelance Japanese Translator/Interpreter and copywriter (English). She is a JLPT N2 passer who watches anime to "study" for N1. She has a long career history on LinkedIn (with primary focus on media and translation), but her anime watchlist is much, much longer.


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