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Kumamoto Manga Fes. & Manga Camp THE REPORT – Day 4

Enrico Croce Enrico Croce 28/10/2018 12 min read


After the excitement of Kumamoto, the entire SMAC! MASTERCLASS were finally gathered together, where emotions ran high. After all, these representatives from every corner of the globe were meet for the very first time. Though coming from all walks of life and vastly different cultures, the MASTERCLASS easily conversed in a common language they were all fluent in… the language of Manga! Day 1 of the official Master Class Kumamoto Manga Camp had begun…

The day starts as the sun slowly begins to rise over the breathtaking mountain ranges of Takamori. After a hasty traditional breakfast, consisting of rice, grilled fish and a thousand other delicacies, the first group of MASTERCLASS members set off to one of Takamori’s most treasured sites. The Kamishikimi Kumanoza Shrine!


“A real life Ghibli movie!”

The haunting forest, the serene silence and a deep sense of spirituality all work to make this place very special. Takamori’s wild and magical nature cannot help but inspire, which is evident in the smiling faces of the assembled manga creators.


But there is more! Above the humble shrine is a winding path, leading to the mountain summit. In the spirit of exploration and adventure, the manga creators readily agree to make the final ascent of this enchanting mountain.

“I thought I saw Totoro!”, someone shouts. “I feel like I’m Chihiro in Spirit Away”, sighs another. Beaming from ear to ear, the MASTERCLASS members drink in the unforgettable atmosphere of Takamori’s rugged nature, stopping only for a moment to pose for this stunning photo! The magic of Takamori had done its work.


Back at the hotel, the MASTERCLASS were once again reunited. The sense of calm serenity is replaced by pandemonium, as the 52 creators are guided onto the coaches for transportation to the Kumamoto Manga Camp!

Housed in a traditional Japanese school, the building offers a delightful sense of familiarity. The Takamori Folk School is built in a traditional style that is seen in countless manga an anime, proving a huge hit with these manga fans!


All the artists meet up in the school’s gym for a meeting organized in a very special way by Horie san himself to announce an event that changes the future vision of the silent manga and the possibilities of the event: a limited number of entries are been chosen to become short films!

The artists make their way to the large gym to await an exciting announcement from their host, Horie san. After many months of planning and preparing, Horie san is delighted to announce the screening of a very special project… The Silent Manga Movie!

Several published Silent Mangas by the MASTERCLASS were chosen to by included in a proposed film. Directed by our very own Tsukasa Hojo sensei, the selected mangas were reimagined into an animated storyboard by Tomizawa sensei, with a opening and closing scenes created by Hojo sensei, to give the assembled artists a glimpse into how their work would look on the big screen.


After the screening, Horie san addresses the overwhelmed crowd…

“Manga has deep roots in the film industry. Artists were employed to create storyboards, essentially Silent Manga to show how a scene would look before the camera rolled. With this movie, we want to convey the emotions of Silent Manga in representing human drama that crosses language and borders. This animated storyboard is the first step in showing the world the power and potential of Silent Manga.”


A stunning still from the animated storyboards, created by Hojo sensei.


Filled with a sense of hope and enthusiasm for the future, the artists being to slowly exit the gymnasium… But hey, what’s the commotion?!


The manga creators stop short as they see a hive of activity amongst the warm welcoming people of Takamori. “Nagashi somen!”, is mysteriously shouted. This is lunchtime with a twist!

“Nagashi somen”, roughly translated as “flowing noodles” is a time honored, Japanese tradition at this time of year. Two long runs made from bamboo have been constructed, with a stream of water flowing along both.

The mystified MASTERCLASS are asked to stand on either side of the bamboo runs, holding aloft chopsticks as something wonderful happens. Noodles are quickly placed at the top of the runs and begin to quickly flow down to the hungry guests.

This gives a new meaning to the phrase “working for your lunch”!


With bellies full, the manga creators begin to feel excitement as the lessons and workshops are about to start.

The lessons were enthusiastically undertaken by Tsugihara sensei, Tomizawa sensei and several Comic Zenon creators. Covering subjects ranging from panelling and pacing, to making the perfect protagonist and the mangaka/editor relationship, the eager international creators listened to the professional advise with rapt attention!

Armed with this invaluable information and guidance, we cannot wait to read the latest work from the MASTERCLASS!  😉


After a day filled with fun, study and surprises, the manga artists are treated to a particularly delicious dinner of Miso Dengaku. This traditional eating experience, specific to Takamori consists of miso glazed vegetables and fish, “bbq’ued” over an in-door fire pit. The unusual flavors and overall experience proved the perfect ending to a much enjoyed day.


Always on hand to gift his manga knowledge, Tomizawa sensei happily continued to give advice to the assembled creators as the dinner progressed. This close meeting was a dream come true for Preau and Suthamon, who were both huge fans of the sensei’s work, “BUSINESS COMMANDO Yamazaki”. The two Thailand creators were overwhelmed with emotion when Tomizawa sensei dedicated a sketch of the titular character to them!


WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?! Two strange and terrifying creatures are eating Hungarian mangaka Gabor Molnar!!


Not only did these international guests enjoy a wonderfully traditional mean, there were also treated to a traditional dance! The Dance of the Lions is a very old tradition in Japan, beautifully performed by the Takamori Lion Dance group. It is said that, if a lion “bites” your head, you will have good fortune… So we cannot wait to see what Vietnamese creator, Lan is going to make next as he was the first “victim”!  😃


With bellies full of delicious food and head’s bursting with the magic of manga, the MASTERCLASS wearily return to the hotel. A quick onsen for some, an impassioned conversation in the lobby for others, the international creators discuss the excitement of the day, and the promise of tomorrow…

Don’t miss next week’s article on DAY 5 of the SILENT MANGA AUDITION® Kumamoto Manga Camp, 2018!! BYE!



Kumamoto Manga Fes. & Manga Camp 2018 THE REPORT

“Day 1 : Arrival of the Winners”
“Day 2 : International Manga Festival”
“Day 3 : MC2018 Award Ceremony”
“Day 4 : Kumamoto International Manga CAMP”
“Day 5 : The last day of the Manga CAMP”
“Next stop... Tokyo then homeward bound”
Enrico Croce

Enrico Croce