Shigeru Miyamoto Becomes First Video Game Creator to Be Recognized as Person of Cultural Merit in Japan
70 year old Manga creator Moto Hagio also gets bestowed the honor
Jae C. Hong/AP
It was announced on October 29 that beloved video game creator, Nintendo Creative Fellow, and the father of Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto will be awarded the highest honor a person in a creative field can receive in Japan alongside manga creator Moto Hagio (They Were Eleven, The Poe Clan). In 2012, Studio Ghibli founder and anime director, Hayao Miyazaki received the same honor.
The “Person of Cultural Merit” is awarded to people by the Japanese Government who have made great cultural contributions to Japan and is one of the highest honors a creator can receive in Japan. The 2019 ceremony will be held in a hotel in Tokyo on November 5.
Shigeru Miyamoto is the first ever video game creator to receive the honor as well as the first person in the entire video game industry. Miyamoto said at the announcement that he appreciates "the video game genre being brought to light" and recognized by the Japanese Government, he is “unable to do it alone” and is thankful for his co-workers at Nintendo.
Miyamoto continues to explain that he was only able to keep working on video games because he was always “creating what he found interesting” rather than going after big trends, a philosophy that continues at Nintendo to this day. At the end of his speech, Miyamoto stated that he “wants to make people around the world smile”, “won’t be retiring anytime soon” and will continue “to do everything in his power to do new things.”
Moto Hagio helped pave the way for shoujo manga with her works in the 1970s by creating many of the tropes and styles we still see in manga today. In 2016, she authored new chapters on her 40 year old work, The Poe Clan, for magazine Monthly Flowers. Her manga, They Were Eleven, was adapted into an OVA in 1977 and then into a film in 1986.
Hagio expressed thanks at the honor in her “50th year of living the manga artist life.” She said that she couldn’t have done it without the “encouragement of her many friends, readers, and editors” “and the path that her manga seniors had opened up for her.”
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs the YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza and posts photo of his travels on Instagram.