1. Manga Mondays ~ Shen Ying-jieh

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    Shen Ying-jieh, better known by the pseudonym Akru, is a Taiwanese manhua artist. Her first comic Wings of Kopule was awarded the first place prize in Best Comic Storyline by the Government Information Office of the Executive Yuan.

    Akru majored in Anthropology, preceded by a postgraduate Design course at Shi Jian University. While still a student she came across historical records detailing the arrival of missionaries and explorers in Taiwan. Discovering that 19th-century Taiwan was vastly different from what she had previously imagined.

    Fascinated by the history of Taiwan, a theme explored by very few people, Akru lovingly brings Taiwanese historical themes into the forefront of her work. Set on the island of Formosa her comics entwine fantasy and romantic elements with historical events.

    It is important for Akru to find first-hand information. Sourcing statistical data and investigators’ reports and avoiding other people’s interpretations such as movies or novels.

    Wings of Kopule was initially completed for the competition held by Executive Yuan. It was published shortly after winning the award. Akru’s follow-up comic The Bai Hua Café won the government’s Best General Comic category and received an honorable mention by the jury of the manga division, 15th Media Arts Awards.

    Arku has named Rumiko Takahashi and Hayao Miyazaki as influences.

    You can find more of Akru’s work on her blog (both of them) and on DeviantArt.