The Japanese government announced the 808 recipients of the Medal of Honor for the fall of 2021 on April 2. On Tuesday NHK reported, anime director Masaaki Yuasa will receive the Medal with Purple Ribbon, which is bestowed to “individuals who have contributed to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments.”
Yuasa is well known as the director of many celebrated anime series-Japan Sinks: 2020, DEVILMAN crybaby, Kemonozume, Kick-Heart, Lu over the wall, Mind Game, Ride Your Wave, Ping Pong, The Tatami Galaxy, and Kaiba.
The 56 year-old started as a key animator for such anime as Doraemon: Nobita’s Animal Planet and The Legend of the Dog Warriors: The Hakkenden.
Yuasa co-founded Science SARU with Eunyoung Choi in 2013. The duo’s “Food Chain” episode of the American animated series Adventure Time earned them an Annie Award nomination in 2014.
Yuasa retired as president of the studio Science SARU in March 2020.Choi now serves as the president of the studio.
English singer-songwriter Elvis Costello gave a shoutout to the Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! anime in a Guardian column highlighting works of media that have recently made an impact on him.
He described it as “a tutorial about every component of film production, from storyboard to sound design,” and also mentioned that it has “a very cool theme song.”
Yusasa’s new feature film Inu-Oh already premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival in September 2021. After the Japanese premiere screening at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2021 on November 3, it will be released in Japanese theaters in the early summer of 2022.
Past recipients of the honor include:
- Manga creator Shigeru Mizuki in 1991
- Fujio Akatsuka in 1998
- Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata in 1999
- Manga creator Leiji Matsumoto in 2001
- Manga creator Tetsuya Chiba in 2002
- Composer and Studio Ghibli’s frequent collaborator Joe Hisaishi in 2009
- Only Yesterday singer Harumi Miyako in 2010
- Manga creator Ryohei Saigan in 2010
- Manga creator Moto Hagio in 2012
- Manga creator and anime director Katsuhiro Otomo in 2013
- Manga creator Keiko Takemiya in 2014
- Anime director Keiichi Hara in 2018
- Manga creator Osamu Akimoto in 2019
- Manga creator Rumiko Takahashi in 2020