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2018.03.08 First Konishi Manga Award Goes to French Translation of Golden Kamuy
In January 2017, the Konishi Foundation for International Exchange established the Manga Translation Award, an award conferred to the best French translation of a Japanese manga. Its commemorative first Award was announced in France at the end of January this year, at the 45th Angoulême International Comics Festival. The winner was Sébastien Ludmann who translated Satoru Noda's Golden Kamuy into French. All works published in the two-year period from October 2015 to September 2017 were eligible for consideration. 

For more than two decades, the Konishi Foundation has also hosted the Japanese-French Translated Literature Prize, exalting the facilitation of cultural exchange between Japan and France effected by translators. The purpose of this Manga Translation Award is to give deserving respect to manga translators for their contribution. In France, Japanese manga are very popular, often leading to an interest in Japan, especially in the younger generation. Konishi Foundation hopes that the role of manga in imparting Japanese culture will further advance the reciprocal understanding between the two countries.  

Generationally speaking, manga enjoys a diverse readership in Japan, but what are its trends overseas? When the paper-based Japanese manga market is broken down by volume in each country, France comes in second place—surpassing the United States and other Asian countries—after Japan. Furthermore, comparing all French translations published in France by their original languages, in 2016, Japanese comprised 12.5%, exceeding German, Italian, and Spanish; English made up 60% (research by Livres Hebdo). It is believed that Japanese manga translations played a big part in this outcome. In France, almost 60% of published comic books are overseas works. 
For manga translation, a different type of creativity to the translation of a literary piece is required: the need to fit sentences into a highly restricted space, the use of unique onomatopoeias, and the need to explain cultural backgrounds depicted in drawings. This new award for manga translators may give further rise to future high-quality translators. 
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