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Katsuhiro Otomo Receives Japan Medal with Purple Ribbon

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
1st anime industry member to receive award honoring academic, artistic achievement in 15 years

The Japanese government announced on Saturday that it will present manga creator and anime director Katsuhiro Otomo with the Fall 2013 Medal with Purple Ribbon on November 3. The medal is awarded to "individuals who have contributed to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments." As part of the award, Otomo and other recipients will hear comments from the Japanese Emperor.

Otomo received the award for the "many excellent works he has created over a long period of time as a manga artist and an anime director, the international attention he has garnered, and his large contributions to Japan's fine arts culture."

The last time a member of the anime industry received the award, which the Japanese government presents biannually, was when Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata won in 1998.

Otomo is best known for creating the stories of Akira, Steamboy, and Memories, and he directed or co-directed the anime for all of these. Otomo also directed the 2006 live-action film adaptation of Yuki Urushibara's Mushishi supernatural manga. Otomo later created the Hipira: The Little Vampire manga, which received a 12-episode television anime adaptation in 2009. Otomo has created the Domu, The Legend of Mother Sarah, Sayonara Nippon, and SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers manga, among others, and has worked on the Freedom, Spriggan, and Metropolis anime. Otomo debuted as a manga creator in 1973, and launched his first long work, Akira, in Kodansha's Young Magazine in 1982. Most recently, Otomo worked on the Short Peace anime and video game omnibus project that assembled "top creators at the leading edge of Japanese animation." Otomo created the "Combustible" short anime within that project.

In 2005 the French government conferred the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) decoration on Otomo.

Manga creator Moto Hagio won the award last year, and she was the first female manga creator to receive it. Other manga creators including Fujio Akatsuka, Ryohei Saigan, Tetsuya Chiba, Leiji Matsumoto, and Shigeru Mizuki have received the award in the past. Composer and Studio Ghibli's frequent collaborator Joe Hisaishi received the honor in 2009, while Only Yesterday singer Harumi Miyako received it in 2010.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web

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