Ukrainian manga creators Natalia Rerekina and Gilbert Brissen, whose manga Moonchosen was honored with Award of Excellence for the 15th International Manga Award, declined to attend the event that was supposed to take place on March 4, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
They nevertheless sent a thank you message for the honor.
MOFA had notified the pair about their winning towards the end of 2021.
They initially showed interest to participate in the ceremony. However, due to the Russia-Ukraine tension, they had to turn down the offer.
On Feb 28, 2022, Rerekina sent an email to an official at the ministry informing them that they were fine and they hope to get back to making manga as soon as the war ends.
“We’re okay. Thank you for your concern. I believe the war will be over soon and we will draw another manga,” wrote the artist.
Due to them not attending, the Ministry decided to send them award certificates and trophies when the situation in Ukraine cools down.
Moonchosen is a fantasy story that revolves around a young boy and a young girl who lives in a village and make wishes.
Dutch artist Aimée de Jongh won the gold award for Days of sand, while Always never by Jordi Lafebre (Spain) and CliniClowns: last goodbye by Cory Ko (Taiwan) also won the silver award with Moonchosen.
International Manga Award is an annual award established to encourage non-Japanese manga artists in 2007. This award was created by Japanese Foreign Minister Tarō Asō, who proposed this award in a policy speech he gave in Tokyo’s Akihabara district in 2006.
The selection is managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Annually, award honorees are recommended by the advisers including Machiko Satonaka and many other manga artists.