Nantou-based comic artist wins Japanese manga award

Taipei-Taiwanese comic book artist Yu Wei-te (???) recently won a prestigious Japanese prize for a work based on his childhood in Nantou County.

Yu was awarded the Prize for Excellence for a narrative comic, in the 2021 World Manga Senbatsu, held by Japan's Kochi Prefecture, which is known as a mecca for manga culture.

This year's contest drew a total of 442 submissions from 29 countries, with Taiwan sending 143 entries, second only to Japan's 215.

Yu's book, "70s Students," describes the after-school adventures of a group of children in a small town, a tale the artist said was based on his own experience growing up in Nantou's Puli Township.

In an interview with CNA Saturday, Yu recalled that he and his friends used to dress up as characters from the Final Fantasy video game series and act out their favorite storylines.

Those memories, as well as the influence of the classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West," inspired him to write a story in which children become heroes in an imaginary world of good and evil, by putting on masks and costumes, he said.

For example, Yu said, in one episode in the story, the children imagine they are battling a villain from "Journey in the West" called Bull Demon King, which is actually nothing more than a cow belonging to a local farmer.

Later in the story, however, when the children witness an actual robbery taking place, they are suddenly forced to act as real-life heroes, Yu said.

Yu, who still lives in Puli and now works in design, said that while he was delighted to win the award, he had no plans to quit his day job.

"Comic artists need to be quite famous before they can make a living from their work, so I'm content to just treat it as a hobby," he said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel