If there’s one series that has dominated the headlines this year, it’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. From beating Attack on Titan to monopolizing the entirety of Oricon, Koyoharu Gotouge’s series has certainly been a resounding success. As a result, perhaps it was only natural that the author be nominated for the second Noma Publishing Culture Prize – recognizing their astounding impact on the industry.
The Noma Publishing Culture Prize was set up by Kodansha last year to celebrate the company’s 110th birthday, rewarding individuals or organizations for their “excellent contributions” to the publishing industry. Last year’s recipients were Mai Shiraishi from Nogizaka46 alongside director Makoto Shinkai, author Keigo Higashino, and the shoujo manga magazines Nakayoshi and Ribbon.
This year’s recipients are just as varied. Alongside Koyoharu Gotouge, Naoki Hanzawa creator Jun Ikeido and the Nintendo title Animal Crossing: New Horizons are up for the Noma Prize, which is quite a combo. Leaving aside Ikeido for the moment, New Horizons is receiving the prize because of its record-breaking worldwide success and “new modes of expression that go beyond the framework of a game” – that’s certainly high praise.
Much like Koyoharu Gotouge’s series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Ikeido is receiving the Noma Prize “not just” because of his hit works such as the Naoki Hanzawa series, but also because of the immense amount of popularity that the ongoing drama series has obtained in the past year. Gotouge, too, is receiving the Noma prize not just because of Kimetsu no Yaiba’s high sales, but also because of how associated anime, game, and merchandising projects have “shaken up the industry” in a big way. In other words: everyone is looking to Demon Slayer right now for success.
Last year, there was a fancy ceremony to hand the recipients their prizes, but who knows if it will go ahead this year. What are the prizes, you may ask? Well, a medal, for one, but also prize money consisting of one million yen (around $9500 USD). I’m not sure that Koyoharu Gotouge needs any more money right now given Kimetsu no Yaiba’s success, but there we are. New Horizons refused it, by the way.
You can see the full Noma Publishing Culture Prize nominees via the official website.