Every edition of Wochi Kochi covers a special topic. The Japan Foundation’s activities are wide-ranging and span the whole world. In these articles, staff bring you behind-the-scenes stories about the joys and struggles they experience, and about some of the unexpected (and expected) incidents they encounter while implementing programs in particular locations.
[Special Feature 078] The Japan Foundation Awards, held for the 49th time in 2022, began in 1973, one year following the establishment of the Japan Foundation. Every year, the awards are presented to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to promoting international mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and other countries through academic, artistic and other cultural pursuits. This year's award recipients included two individuals and one organization: Robert Lepage (Actor, Playwright, theatre and movie Director) from Canada, Korean Japanese Association from Korea and Goenawan Mohamad (Poet, Writer and Painter) from Indonesia. This is a report of the presentation ceremony attended by the recipients on October 19, 2022.
[Special Feature 073] JF has been working towards integrating and branding its two businesses, the Japanese Film Festival (JFF) Network, which holds live screenings in theaters, and JFF Plus, an online platform. Let's take a look at these two projects and see how they came about.
[Special Feature 076] Since its founding in 1972, the Japan Foundation ("JF") has long been involved in programs to support Japanese-language education overseas. The Foundation initially focused on training those researching Japan in order to promote understanding of the country. However, as Japan's international influence has grown, the purposes of studying the Japanese language have diversified. These include the acquisition of advanced technology, an increase in the number of people wishing to visit Japan, the introduction of Japanese as a foreign-language subject in local public education, and public interest in pop culture. As a result, there has been a demand for programs that meet the local needs of the time.
[Special Feature 076] Since 1985, the Japan Foundation (JF) has been presenting the Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship to organizations that deepen ties and cooperation between Japanese and foreign citizens through international cultural exchange activities, exchanging mutual wisdom and ideas and thinking together. Three organizations received these awards in 2021: Friends of El Sistema Japan (Chiyoda, Tokyo), Colegio Mundo de Alegria (Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture), and Door to Asylum Nagoya (Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture).
The awards ceremony was held online on March 1, 2022 as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as was the case the previous year.
[Special Feature 075] It has been one year since the Japan Foundation Awards, which has been held annually since 1973, the year after the establishment of the Japan Foundation (JF), was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The four diverse 2021 winners, an increase of one from the previous year, were Koreeda Hirokazu (film director), Miyata Mayumi (shō (Japanese wind instrument) performer), Deans at the Faculty of Japanese Language and Culture, University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU) / Faculty of Japanese, Foreign Trade University / Faculty of Japanese Hanoi University, and Dr. Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit (professor, The Free University of Berlin) from Germany.
[Special Feature 073] Even though many of the Japan Foundation's projects take place overseas, we also host The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship, a program to recognize intercultural exchange organizations operating in Japan.
[Special Feature 073] Even before the spread of COVID-19, Australia suffered from massive bushfires that swept across the nation from September 2019. These fires wreaked tremendous havoc on the country, scorching over 10.7 million hectares,
[Special Feature 073] The Japan Foundation, Mexico ("the Center") has been holding the ShiShi Yamazaki Animation Masterclass for young Mexican creators since September 2020, with up-and-coming animation artist ShiShi Yamazaki as the lecturer.
[Special Feature 073] COVID-19 spreading across the world has had a serious impact on various professions, art being no exception. Movie theaters and other cultural facilities in India had yet been allowed to open in September 2020, and it has been said that theater workers faced massive cutbacks (as of October 2020).
[Special Feature 073] The Japan Foundation China Center was established in 2006 with the goal of invigorating exchanges among young people in Japan and China. One of its main projects is the Long-Term Exchange Program for Chinese High School Students, which invites Chinese high school students to Japan to study at a Japanese high school and stay with a Japanese family for approximately a year. Another is the Centers for "Face-to-Face Exchanges" in China. Both projects have been in operation for more than a decade.