Masaaki Yuasa, the director of anime like Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, The Night is Short, Walk On Girl, and Ping Pong The Animation, has been awarded with Japan’s Medal with Purple Ribbon.
As the Japanese Cabinet Office website explains, the Medal with Purple Ribbon is “awarded to individuals who have contributed to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments.” The Medal with Purple Ribbon came into being in 1955 and is one of five medals that are conferred “on April 29 for the spring and on November 3 for the autumn” every year.
Yuasa, 56, entered the anime industry in 1987. He started off as an in-between animator at Ajiado before quickly becoming a key animator. In 1990, he animated the opening for Chibi Maruko-chan and co-animated the ending with Hideyuki Funakoshi.
Some of Yuasa’s early directorial duties include his director roles on the Slime Boukenki: Umi da short and the pilot film for Vampiyan Kids, both of which were released in 1999. In 2001, he served as a unit director on the Cat Soup short film.
Yuasa made his proper directorial debut with the 2004 movie Mind Game. He has since directed multiple movies and series including Kaiba, The Tatami Galaxy, Lu Over the Wall, Devilman Crybaby, Ride Your Wave, Japan Sinks: 2020, and the recent Inu-Oh. Yuasa also directed the “Food Chain” episode of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. Many of these shows were produced by Science SARU, which Yuasa co-founded in 2013 with Eunyoung Choi.
Yuasa’s work has won numerous awards, including the Annecy International Animated Film Festival’s Jury Award for a TV Series (for the first episode of Japan Sinks: 2020) and Annecy’s top feature film award (for Lu over the Wall).
Some of the other awards bestowed upon Yuasa’s work include the VFX-JAPAN Excellence Award for Lu Over the Wall; the Japan Media Arts Festival’s Animation Division Grand Prize for Mind Game, The Tatami Galaxy, Lu Over the Wall, and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!; and the Tokyo Anime Award’s TV category Grand Prize for Ping Pong The Animation and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!.