Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs awarded its Commissioner for Cultural Affairs award to Studio Pierrot founder Yūji Nunokawa (pictured right) and manga creator Kazuo Umezu (Makoto-chan, Watashi no Shingo) on Monday. The award honors "individuals who have made distinguished accomplishment in artistic and cultural activities."
The award is rarely awarded to individuals involved in the anime and manga industry. Shirogumi president Tatsuo Shimamura received the award in 2017, along with directors Masaaki Yuasa (DEVILMAN crybaby, Night is Short, Walk On Girl) and Sunao Katabuchi (In This Corner of the World).
Nunokawa graduated from the Japan Design School in 1967, and has worked at Mushi Production, Studio Jack, and Tatsunoko Production. He served as episode director on such anime series as The Funny Judo Champion, Casshan, and Time Bokan. He founded Studio Pierrot in 1979. Early on, the studio worked on series such as Magical Angel Creamy Mami, Magical Fairy Persia, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Osomatsu-kun, and Kimagure Orange Road. Eventually, the studio became notable for its adaptations of Weekly Shonen Jump manga, including Yū Yū Hakusho, Bleach, Naruto, Beelzebub, and Black Clover, among others.