Recently Xia Da (夏达), a Chinese manga artist, became popular in Asia, especially in Japan and China. Other than her delicate cartoon works, her popularity could also be attributed to her innocent and attractive image. Born in 1981, her look is much younger than her real age.
Xia Da began drawing cartoon and publishing her work when she was in high school. In 2008, her work Zi Bu Yu (子不语)* was awarded the gold medal in the 5th Golden Dragon Award. In 2009, Zi Bu Yu was strongly recommended by both a noted Japanese cartoonist Matsui Eimoto (松井荣元) and Shigeki Yukio (茂木行雄), the chief editor of the largest publisher in Japan, Shueisha Inc. As of now, Zi Bu Yu has been published in the top Japanese cartoon magazine Ultra Jump for more than a year. Zi Bu Yu is the first original manga created by a Chinese artist, and entered into the Japanese market with popularity.
Zi Bu Yu tells a story that entails many Chinese traditional cultures. A nine year old girl moves into a mountain with her parents; she watches the world from a kid’s perspective. The story conveys a theme that people should respect others and the nature. A Chinese cartoonist, Yao Fei La (姚非拉) described Zi Bu Yu as a really touching and inspiring story; although it’s a serious topic, Xia Da handled it well in a genuine and pure way. Another Japanese cartoonist Kinjoo (金城) said Zi Bu Yu is a Chinese story with a Japanese artistic expression.
During the time Zi Bu Yu was published in Ultra Jump, Xia Da did not gain much publicity. Only until recently, when her pictures were shown online, she immediately became Japanese’s favorite. Her fans think she is prettier than many movie stars. Yao Fei La, who helped published Zi Bu Yu, said the wide publicity of Xia Da because of the exposed photos is not what they originally wanted. However, if this helps Zi Bu Yu getting more audience and let more people understand the tremendous effort Xia Da put on her work, this publicity can turn out to be a gift.