The Italian government conferred manga creator Mari Yamazaki with the Order of the Star of Italy, Commendatore (Commander, third class) decoration at the Italian ambassador’s residence in Tokyo on October 13, 2017. The president of Italy confers the order to expatriates or foreigners who have contributed to the growth of Italian culture and friendly relations between Italy and other countries. The honor is an order of knighthood. The occasion marks the first time a Japanese manga creator has received the honor.
Yamazaki lived in Italy for many years, and she has drawn numerous manga series about Italy. Her Thermae Romae manga also featured essays on Italian culture, particularly Italian bath culture. Yamazaki ended the Thermae Romae manga in March 2013.
Yamazaki most recently drew the three-chapter BVLGARI o Tsukutta Otoko – Sotirios Voulgaris (The Man Who Made BVLGARI – Sotirios Voulgaris) manga from July to September 2017.