Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Comics stardom beckons as Manga Jiman 2020 opens for entries

Aspiring artists with a love of Japanese comics, grab your pencils – 2020’s Manga Jiman competition is now accepting submissions.

The annual artsfest has been held in the UK each year since 2007, organised by the Embassy of Japan to foster cultural appreciation between the two countries. Manga Jiman seeks original titles inspired by the diverse world of Japanese comics, created by artists based in the UK.

Artists are asked to submit their own original comic work based around a particular theme, which for 2020 is ‘technology’. Given the challenges the year has posed, and how many people have seen their work, educational, and social lives shift online in the wake of COVID, we’re sure creators will have no shortage of ideas based on the topic!

Now in its 14th year, the competition has grown to include two categories. The main Manga Jiman is open to artists aged 14 and over, and calls for stories of six-to-eight pages in length. For younger artists aged 11-13, the Yonkoma competition asks for single page comics telling a story in four panels (a common manga format, most often used for comedy titles and broadly comparable to western newspaper comic strips such as Peanuts or Calvin and Hobbes).

“The Embassy of Japan has searched for the best comic creators in the UK since 2007,” the competition’s organisers say. “The search now continues with two competitions, Manga Jiman and Yonkoma, with the aim of providing a platform for aspiring comic artists.”

Prizes this year range from anime cels and gift vouchers, to practical artist tools such as an A3 scanner. The winner of the Yonkoma bracket will secure prizes from the Japanese Gallery in London. All winners will also have their work displayed at the Embassy of Japan in a special exhibition.

If you’re looking for some manga inspiration with a queer twist, check out My Brother’s Husband, Gengoroh Tagame’s touching slice of life series focusing on Japan’s attitudes towards homosexuality through the lens of an international family. It’s a masterclass in how to integrate LGBTQ+ themes into manga.

The deadline for receipt of entries for this year’s Manga Jiman is 16 November 2020, and entries are only open to current residents of the United Kingdom.