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Kumamoto Manga Fes. & Manga Camp THE REPORT – The last days

Enrico Croce Enrico Croce 12/11/2018 10 min read
The story so far … Over 50 international manga creators had been invited to Japan to take part in a unique and pioneering event… The Kumamoto International Manga Camp! Here, they attended workshops, run by manga professional, exchanged ideas and participated in the world’s first International Manga Summit. But it wasn’t all work, the SMAC! Masterclass also had limitless fun, provided by the amazing people of Takamori. But like all good things, the trip must come to an end… so make yourself comfortable, grab a hot drink and read on for the final two days of the Kumamoto Manga Fes. & Manga Camp! Even the last day started early for these guys. Before leaving the beautiful location of Takamori, we all decide to go and see the picturesque Shirakawa water spring, a natural water source of the city famous throughout Japan. (To be honest, this place is worth visiting for the breathtaking natural scenery alone so, all you manga creators that will participate in future camps, be warned! This place is a MUST SEE!) Soon after, we made our way to one the most prominent “manga” themed attractions in the city; Takamori train station! This station has a special place in the hearts of all that live here since, in response to the severe earthquake that hit Kumamoto, many famous Japanese mangaka banded together and presented the city with a wave of sketches and signed artworks. Buoyed by the overwhelming support these manga creators showed, the people of Takamori not only decorated the station with all of their works, but also the train itself! Both inside and out, the train gave our happy campers much to admire as we travelled through the countryside on this museum on rails! As our future stars of manga embark on a whole new creative voyage together, we bid our last farewell to the city of Takamori and the wonderful people who welcomed us all there. As you can imagine, each of our Masterclass members have a great many memories they wish to share, so keep an eye out for the surprises we have in store regarding TAKAMORI and the MANGA CAMP right here on our website!


“Our return flight to Tokyo leaves from Kumamoto airport in a few hours … Why don’t we go for a walk around the castle grounds?”, says Mocchi as he is met with an unanimous nod of agreement from all present. With smiles abound, our group of talented creators piled on to the bus as we made a beeline straight for the city’s most prized attraction! I’m sure that Kumamoto Castle needs little in the way of introduction since readers of Kumamoto round 1 and 2 will no doubt be familiar with its magnificent architecture already!  (Unfortunately, since our guests were split into several groups and were exploring lots of different locations, we weren’t able to get a group shot with everyone ! 😉) Waving farewell to Kumamoto, we finally arrive in Tokyo for the final days of our trip. With shopping and celebrating high on the agenda, we prepare to spend our last hours together in style! Naturally, a visit to our COAMIX head office is a must. Divided by TEAM (a little more on that below) the guys were able to see firsthand and touch the original manuscripts drawn by Tsukasa Hojo sensei for his work ‘Angel Heart’!! After spending some time with Hojo sensei’s hand-drawn masterpieces, we headed to the top floor of the COAMIX building for a special welcome party. Check out the photos below to see the spread that “Sora Zenon” laid out for us, as well as the place where our creators completed their latest works of art; an autographed sketch from each member of the MASTERCLASS 2018! Tokyo had much to offer us all (Masterclass and editors alike!), but with little time to rest, and with many photos being taken, there was barely time to relax at the final dinner too! That said, we were lucky enough to capture both the past and the future of manga in a single shot when Tomizawa sensei (professional mangaka and SMA judge) and Massimo Dall’Oglio (cartoonist and new addition to the Masterclass) exchanged gifts, dedications, and advice on how to improve the art of drawing on printed paper! And with that, our wonderful week of discovery together draws to a close. We sincerely hope this experience has impacted the Masterclass as profoundly as it has the entire SMAC! team, judges and probably the whole world of Japanese publishing! See you all again next year! … but before we go, we have one last gift to the community! For the duration of the trip, all the international manga creators were divided into groups. However, when the time came to say goodbye, each group left behind a priceless memento of their stay with us; a hand-drawn illustration!! Click on the images to see the drawings close-up and to know who was part of which group!

(a small souvenir photo of the “Group D” led by Brendan below!)

Autographs and sketches from the 1st Manga Camp participants

Also, we have an announcement! During the first weeks of December, we will publish on our site a whole new page featuring the many works our creators have come up with to share their memories of the Manga Camp with us all!

↓ You can already see one of the “Kumamoto” manga creations as a motion comic here ↓

And with that, we urge you all to stay tuned and keep following us for the latest news from the world of Japanese and international manga! CIAO!


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