The Japanese government announced Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino and Wata no Kuni Hoshi (The Star of Cottonland) manga creator Yumiko Ōshima as well as 19 other recipients of this year’s Person of Cultural Merit honor on Tuesday.
He has since directed anime including Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, Gundam F91, Victory Gundam, Turn A Gundam, Muteki Kōjin Daitarn 3, Space Runaway Ideon, Aura Battler Dunbine, and Gundam: Reconguista in G.
Ōshima was surprised and deeply thankful for the award. When she first received the call for the Agency of Cultural Affairs, she had thought it was phone fraud. She drew a self-portrait to commemorate the award.
Ōshima debuted the Wata no Kuni Hoshi manga in Hakusensha‘s LaLa magazine in 1978, and ended it in 1987. The manga won the Kodansha Manga Award in 1978. She is perhaps best known for popularizing the catgirl with her character Chibi-neko in Wata no Kuni Hoshi. She is drawing the long-running Gou-Gou Datte Neko De Aru manga series. The “Cher Gou-Gou…mon petit chat, mon petit ami” short story in the series won the 12th Annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2018. She has also created the Banana Bread no Pudding, Diesel Car, and CatNiP manga.
Manga and anime creator Leiji Matsumoto (Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999) also received the Person of Cultural Merit honor in 2001, and fellow manga creator Shigeru Mizuki (GeGeGe no Kitarō) received the same honor in 2010. Anime director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki received the honor in 2012. Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and manga creator Moto Hagio received the award in 2019. Gundam composer Shigeaki Saegusa received the award in 2020.
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