Japan Media Arts Festival  
21st

Manga Division

Excellence Award

Nyx’s Lantern

TAKAHAMA Kan [Japan]

© Kan Takahama /LEED Publishing
Outline

In 1878, as the wave of Western culture spreads through Japan, in Nagasaki, Miyo, a girl orphaned in the Satsuma Rebellion works at a curio shop called Vingt. The dresses, sewing machines, binoculars, boots, and other items acquired at the Paris Exhibition by the proprietor KOURA Momotoshi have aroused her curiosity. Miyo accumulates experience in her job while using clairvoyant ability which she has possessed since she was very young. The story vibrantly depicts a new age that visits a Nagasaki thriving with merchants and prostitutes, centering on Miyo’s changes as she begins to experience feelings for Momotoshi akin to the awakening of love, and Momotoshi’s past, which gradually comes to light. Based on a thorough investigation of the history, things are depicted along with the colorful historical background of the period, and interesting facts about antiques that appear in the work are included as mini-columns. In these ways, the author’s knowledge is well utilized, enhancing the manga’s feeling of reality. 

Reason

The story depicts the maturation of the main character Miyo, who comes into contact with cutting-edge items at the beginning of the Meiji Era. The talented TAKAHAMA has used her superior literary touch to consistently create controversial works that confront readers with the harsh, unforgiving truth, earning her accolades from Japan to France. While a romantic mood and splendor float up in the foreground based on TAKAHAMA’s new phase of development, the reader comes to realize that this is no mere “heroine comes of age” story. However, there is no drowning in a sense of despair. Instead, the work as a whole is echoing the message that one must not turn away from the truth, and the faraway voices of adults saying, “It’s all right; join us.” The fact that “the world is vast and one is still ignorant” is portrayed not as a threatening thing, but instead as an honest aspiration. This is where the considerable appeal of this work lies. (MINAMOTO Taro) 


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