7th Silent Manga Audition Invites Global Audience to Draw Japanese-Style Comics

posted on by Eric Stimson
This year's theme: "unforgettable taste"

The seventh round of the Silent Manga Audition is underway. Initially launched in 2012, this now biannual contest challenges skilled comic artists from around the world to draw Japanese-style comics for monetary prizes. The contest is judged by famous manga artists and, as the name suggests, demands the works be silent (include no written dialogue) to ensure a level cross-cultural playing field. Repeat winners (the "master class") are flown to Japan to meet with the judges and get their expert advice.

"Thirty and a Half Minutes" by The Snipster (Vietnam); Grand Prix winner, September 2015 round

Each round of the audition has a different theme, generally something sentimental or romantic like "love letter," "mother" or "charming gift." This audition is going in a different direction with the theme "unforgettable taste." As Taiyo Nakashima, the deputy chief editor of the contest website SMAC!, explains:

We are what we eat, so our parents and guardians told us – but what have we eaten? You may have a fond memory of that unforgettable meal with someone that remains in your heart, or that dish may have inspired you to choose a career in mastering the ultimate gourmet, or made you decided never to eat certain kinds of food ever again. Maybe you are still in search of that favorite plate you have not yet met, or it might be the flavor, an aroma of coffee, tea, or some exotic beverage that left a life-lasting impact on your taste buds. It may perhaps be the salty taste of tears, seawater, oil, mud or something even worse that filled your mouth when you fell, dropped, or experienced near death or an encounter of the third kind. Flavour, taste, aroma… our taste buds can affect our memories and soul, in so many more ways than one. We may not remember or count how many slices of toast or bowls of rice we've eaten in our lives, but what is THAT one taste, that will never leave your mind? Re-capture that moment, and re-imagine it as SILENT MANGA!

"Aerials" by Sires Jan Black (America); Excellence, March 2015 round

The contest prides itself on an international talent pool; previous winners have originated from countries as far-flung as Bolivia, Tunisia, Ukraine and Zimbabwe. Southeast Asia, and Indonesia in particular, produces frequent winners. Brazil and Indonesia have each won the Grand Prix twice, with the others going to Thailand and Vietnam.

"Father's Gift" by Ichirou (Brazil); Grand Prix winner, 2014 round

The contest is judged by Tsukasa Hojo (City Hunter), Tetsuo Hara (Fist of the North Star), Ryuji Tsugihara (Yoroshiku Mechadock), Nobuhiko Horie (CEO of Coamix Corp.), Tadashi Negishi (former Monthly Shonen Jump chief editor) and the Comic Zenon editorial team. Hojo is impressed by the variety among the contest entries and finds them to be "fresh." "Silent Manga Audition is already on a higher level than many domestic manga awards in Japan," he thinks. "If you were to enter these winners into Comic Zenon's regular manga awards, they'd put up a good fight I'd imagine." Hara also feels that the work is of "a really high standard" and praised the "beautiful panel layouts." He said in a 2015 interview: "They were much freer in the way they created their panels, using all sorts of different sizes and shapes, maybe I could try some of that myself. Without speech bubbles getting in the way of the art, there's a lot more freedom in how you can draw the scene. There's really an infinite number of ways you can set things up. It made me realise that a manga's charm lies in its panel layout."

"Seeds" by Juan PABLO Madariaga (Chile); Grand Prix winner, 2016 extra round

The Grand Prix comes with a 500,000 yen ($4,811) reward. After that, the rewards are:

  • Grand Prix Runner-Up: 300,000 yen ($2,887)
  • Excellence: 100,000 yen ($962)
  • Excellence Runner-Up: 30,000 yen ($289)
  • Honourable Mention: 10,000 yen ($96.20)

"You Are Not Alone" by hibban basysyar (Indonesia); Honorable Mention, 2016 extra round

Other than dealing with this round's theme, there are no restrictions for the story — although the committee advises artists to avoid depressing endings. There are no page limits, but the committee also recommends shorter stories and an "appropriate number of pages for the story." The deadline to submit is March 31, 2017. Submission can be done online here or by mail using the address:

3rd Floor, Kichijoji Zizo bld., Kichijoji-Minami Cho 1-9-9
Musashino, Tokyo, JAPAN, 180-0003

If you're entering, good luck!

Source: SMAC! Web Magazine

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