Yoshimi Kurata, “Aji Ichimonme”
Japanese Manga Artist, January 9-31
“Aji Ichimonme” is a manga series set at Japanese restaurants. Yoshimi Kurata’s work depicts heart-warming stories as well as appealing seasonal Japanese cuisine. The stories were dramatized and aired on television in 1995. It became a very popular TV drama featuring Mr. Masahiro Nakai, who played the starring role.
Mr. Kurata was born on May 13th, 1954 in Akita city in Akita prefecture. He grew up in the environment surrounded by natural beauty.
During his childhood, he was hospitalized for two months and his uncle gave him 1000 sheets of paper for drawing to help save him from boredom. That was the birth of the artist, Yoshimi Kurata.
While a high school student, he was influenced by the work of manga artist, Mr. Shinji Nagashima, and he decided to also become a manga artist. As soon as he graduated from high school, he became the assistant to manga artist, Mr. Tetsuya Chiba.
He submitted his work to a competition for young male artists run by Shogakkan. His submission was one of the winning pieces. That piece was featured in a weekly magazine called “Shukan Shonen Sunday" (translated as Weekly Young Boys Sunday) in 1978, marking his debut as a professional manga artist.
“Aji Ichimonme” was first published in 1986, and serialized in magazines. Its fourth series is currently running in magazines in Japan. In 1999, he won the 44th Shogakkan manga award in the general youth manga artists category.
Currently teaching a course in manga at Otemae University and he also participates in the international Manga Summit. Recently, he created an organization called East Asia Manga Research Association and works to nurture young manga artists and promote manga and cultural exchanges.
Domestically, he gives lectures at events related to “cuisine” where he has also served as a judge. He has been active in activities to help recovery from the Great East Earthquake disaster in March, 2011.
“Aji Ichimonme” is a manga series set at Japanese restaurants. His work depicts heart-warming stories as well as appealing seasonal Japanese cuisine. The stories were dramatized aired on television in 1995. It became a very popular TV drama featuring Mr. Masahiro Nakai, who played the starring role. Mr. Nakai is also a member of a pop group popular among Japanese youth, called SMAP.
Mr. Shinji Nagashima: July 8th, 1937 – June 10th, 2005. His works include “Manga zankoku monogatari (Manga cruel stories),”, “Hana Ichimonme” and “Manga no Obentobako”, etc.
Mr. Tetsuya Chiba: born in January 11th, 1939, Chairman of Japan Manga Artists Association. His works include “Ashita no Jo: (Joe in tomorrow)", original story by Mr. Asao Takamori, “Ashita Tenkini Naare (wishing tomorrow will be a sunny day)” and “Notari Matsutaro (slow or relaxed Matsutaro)” and others. The Chiba Tetsuya Award was created in 1980 and manga artists can apply for the award twice a year through the magazine “shukan young magazine (weekly young magazine)” with the judging by Tetsuya Chiba, himself.