Japanese Government Honors Ghibli's Suzuki, Voice Actress Nana Mizuki
posted on by Emma Hanashiro
Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs announced the winners of the the 64th Annual Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) Art Encouragement Prizes on Friday. The Japanese government recognized 18 people this year across 11 fine arts divisions, which include music, literature, art, film, arts promotion, critique, and others. One new comer to each division also received an award.
In the award's Film division, Studio Ghibli's Toshio Suzuki won the Grand Prize for his involvement as producer in The Wind Rises and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. He cofounded Studio Ghibli in 1985 with directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and has produced all its films since 1989. He announced his retirement from the role of producer last Sunday, but he will still stay on as a general manager.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs also recognized voice actor and singer Nana Mizuki (Witchblade, Naruto, Tiger & Bunny: The Rising) as Rookie of the Year in the Popular Entertainment division. Proclaiming her "pioneer" through her involvement in voice acting, overseas performances, and anime songs, the Agency for Cultural Affairs acknowledged her as a revolutionary presence in the history of voice acting. Mizuki's win is unusual, as the field of voice acting is often seen as a sub-genre in the awards.
Additionally, the Agency for Cultural Affairs awarded manga artist Daijiro Morohoshi (Shiori to Shimiko) the award for the Media Arts division for Uriko-Hime no Yoru, Cinderella no Asa (Princess Uriko's Night, Cinderella's Morning). A relatively new field created in 2008, the Media Arts Field targets artist achievement in anime, manga, and games. Past winners include Summer Wars's Mamoru Hosoda.
Created in 1950, the Japanese government created the MEXT Art Encouragement Prizes to promote innovation within Japan. The Agency for Cultural Affairs has recognized in past years sound director Susumu Aketagawa (Princess Knight, Akira), anime art director Shichiro Kobayashi (Nodame Cantabile, Blood+), manga artist Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk, Vagabond), composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (The Wings of Honneamise, Appleseed), production designer Yohei Taneda (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Kill Bill Vol. 1), and directors Tsutomu Shibayama (Doraemon), Akimasa Kawashima (Tsurikichi Sampei, Villon's Wife), Hiroshi Sasagawa (Speed Racer, Yatterman), and Gisaburô Sugii (Street Fighter II, Dororo).