40th Nihon SF Taishō Awards Honor Late Authors Hideo Azuma, Taku Mayumura

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Issui Ogawa, Dempow Torishima both won Grand Prize

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of Japan (SFWJ) announced on Monday that it has posthumously awarded late science fiction authors Hideo Azuma and Taku Mayumura with the Meritorious Service Award in its 40th Nihon SF Taishō Awards. Azuma passed away on October 13 last year, and Mayumura passed away on November 3.

Issui Ogawa and Dempow Torishima both won the Grand Prize for the Tenmei no Shirube (The Heavenly Guide) novels and The Hermitage (Yadogari no Hoshi) novel, respectively. Nozomi Ōmori and Sanzō Kusaka won the Special Prize for their work as editors for the 12-volume Best Japanese SF (Nenkan Nihon SF Kessaku-Sen) anthology. Translator Takashi Ogawa and critic and editor Takashi Hoshi won the Chairman Award.

A prolific creator, Azuma drew numerous manga since his 1969 debut. Some of his most notable manga include Olympus no Poron and Nanako SOS, both of which inspired television anime in 1982 and 1983. Azuma's body of work is often considered a significant contributor to the concept and aesthetic of modern "moe" and "lolicon" art in anime and manga.

Azuma's autobiographical Disappearance Diary manga recounts his years as a homeless man, a menial laborer, and a recovering alcoholic. He wrote another autobiographical manga titled Disappearance Diary 2: The Ward for Alcoholics in 2013, which covered his years as a recovering alcoholic.

Disappearance Diary won the grand prize in the prestigious Osamu Tezuka Cultural Awards in 2006. In 2009, Hideo Azuma became the first creator from Japan to be honored with an Ignatz Award nomination for Disappearance Diary. The manga was also a nominee at France's Angouleme International Comics Festival in 2008. The manga recently won the Gran Guinigi award for "Riscoperta di un'opera" ("Rediscovered Work") in Italy in October, days before Azuma's passing.

Mayumura wrote many novels, including such children's science-fiction classics as Maboroshi no Pen Friend (Phantom Pen Pal) and Psychic School Wars (Nerawareta Gakuen). Shōmetsu no Kōrin (Vanishing Halo), a novel in Mayumura's Administrator (Shiseikan) series about humanity's advancement into space to colonize planets, won the Seiun Award from Japanese science-fiction fans and the Izumi Kyōka Prize for Literature in 1979. Kurodahan Press published an Administrator volume in English in 2004.

Mayumura's Toraerareta School Bus (Captured School Bus) story inspired Mori Masaki and TOHO's 1986 anime film Toki no Tabibito -Time Stranger-, and The Order to Stop Construction (Kōji Chūshi Meirei) story inspired Katsuhiro Otomo and Madhouse's segment of the same name in the 1987 Neo-Tokyo omnibus anime film. More recently, his Nerawareta Gakuen novel inspired Ryosuke Nakamura and Sunrise's 2012 anime film Psychic School Wars.

Source: SFWJ website, Comic Natalie

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