TOKYO — A Thai comic book about a family cooking northern cuisine featuring northern dialect placed second in Japan’s prestigious manga competition, the Embassy of Japan in Bangkok announced Monday.
Pitsinee Tangkittinun’s work, “My Little Kitchen 2: In Summer,” won the Silver Award at the 13th Japan International Manga Award. The artist said she’s proud to have showcased various aspects of the local life as a northerner for international audience.
“I am so honored to win this prize, especially as a northerner,” Chiang Rai native Pitsinee said in online messages on Monday. “The food and local dialect used in the books are both things in my actual, daily life. It’s so great that people love it.”
“My Little Kitchen 2” (2019) is a sequel to “My Little Kitchen” (2018), which tells the story of a cartoonist girl who leaves Bangkok to go to her home in the north and cooks with her family. The sequel focuses on summer dishes, such as red ants’ soup, jackfruit somtam, and so on.
“Although our summers are hot and dry, but soups and curries that are the heart of Northern food is spicy and hot and helps us sweat. Eating one makes you want to go shower immediately. It’s delicious and healthy. I hope you enjoy these summer dishes,” reads Pitsinee’s foreword.
The contest had 345 submissions from 66 countries and territories. Judges included acclaimed manga artists in Japan such as shoujo manga artist Satonaka Majiko .
Winning first prize is “Piece of Mind,” by artist Guy Lenman and story author Nimrod Frydman of Israel. Tieing with Pitsinee for the Silver Award is “Korokke and the Girl Who Said No” by Jonatan Cantero and Josep Busquet from Spain, as well as “Ye” by Guilherme Petreca from Brazil.
Thailand sent in the third-most number of entries, 29. Taiwan submitted 46 and mainland China sent 33.
The Japan International Manga award was founded in 2007 by then-Minister of Foreign Affairs to promote Japanese cartoon art and culture overseas.
The last time Thailand won silver was in 2012, 2011, and 2010. Thai artists have also won the coveted Gold Award: in 2014, Prema Jatukanyaprateep for a comic about the artists’ dog Bokbig, Kosin Jeenseekong in 2012 for a comic about Thai musical instruments, and Jakraphan Huaypetch in 2009 for a comic about basketball.
Pitsinee is attending the awards ceremony on Feb. 18 in Tokyo.