Ultraman at the 2007 Hugo Awards
The 65th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) took place this past weekend in Yokohama, Japan. Dubbed Nippon 2007, the event marked the first Worldcon ever held in that country. The guest of honor was Sakyo Komatsu, the acclaimed science fiction author whose works include the novels Japan Sinks (made into the hit movies SUBMERSION OF JAPAN and SINKING OF JAPAN) and Sayonara Jupiter (made into a less successful film by Toho in 1984).
Two other Japanese guests of honor were also represented. One was Takumi Shibano (also known as Rei Koizumi), a writer and translator of science fiction novels, and editor and publisher of the widely circulated Uchujin (1957-current), the first Japanese Fanzine, which featured many stories by prominent science fiction writers. Shibano also worked as a consultant on all three original Gatchaman series, GATCHAMAN (1972), GATCHAMAN II (1978) and GATCHAMAN FIGHTER (1979). The other, Yoshitaka Amano, is a respected Japanese artist who worked on designs for Tatsunoko Productions before going on to develop his own characters and stories, including ONMIYOJI and VAMPIRE HUNTER D.
Japanese-American actor George Takei (STAR TREK, RODAN) was also on hand, giving a talk on diversity in science fiction, transportation in San Francisco and his time in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. Takei also presented an episode of the fan-made series STAR TREK THE NEW VOYAGES entitled “World Enough and Time”, which starred the actor and reportedly was very well received.
Since 1955, each Worldcon has included the annual Hugo Awards ceremony for science fiction’s most prestigious prize. During January-March each year, members of the Worldcon are each allowed to nominate up to five people or works from the previous year in fifteen categories. Typically 500+ people make nominations. In early April a shortlist is announced of five finalists in each category. The ballot is mailed to all members of the Worldcon that year. Categories are divided into three types: Individual Works (books, film, TV), People (artists, writers, technical) and Periodicals (magazines and publications).
The design for the Hugo Award changes every year, and with the 2007 Worldcon taking place in Japan, the awards handed out on August 31 featured Japan’s greatest hero, Ultraman. This is the first time a Hugo Award has featured a character or image in addition to the prerequisite rocket ship. The 2007 Hugo Award was designed and sculpted by Takashi Kinoshita of the world famous model and figure company Kaiyodo Co., Ltd.
Congratulations to this year’s winners! The 2008 Worldcon will be held in Denver, CO, August 6-10.