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Awards and Special Prizes

The Japan Foundation Award / Special Prizes (2007) - Profile


The Japan Foundation Award
Royall TYLER [Australia]
Former Professor and Head of the Japan Centre, Faculty of Asian Studies, Australian National University

Royall Tyler received an MA in 1966 (Japanese history) and a PhD in 1977 (Japanese literature) from Columbia University (U.S.A.) under the tutelage of Donald Keene. He subsequently taught Japanese literature at Ohio State University (U.S.A.), University of Wisconsin at Madison (U.S.A.), and the University of Oslo (Norway). He began teaching at the Australian National University in 1990 and served as a Reader (Professor) in the Japan Centre, Faculty of Asian Studies, from 1992 until his retirement in 2000.

Tyler has introduced non-Japanese audiences to the Noh theater through his highly acclaimed translations and publications of numerous Noh plays, and in 2001 he completed translating the entire Tale of Genji, a task that took approximately eight years. The result is not only a faithful rendering of the original but an outstanding example of modern English, replete with detailed commentary and illustrations that facilitate an understanding of the story. The translation was awarded the Japan-US Friendship Commission Translation Prize in 2001. His translation of anthology of medieval setsuwa stories Japanese Tales (1987) is also highly appreciated and has won a multitude of readers.

Currently Tyler has been lecturing at symposiums and seminars around the world, in addition to running an alpaca ranch outside Canberra with his supporting and loving wife.

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The Japan Foundation Special Prize for Arts and Culture
KITAGAWA Fram [Japan]
Art Director
Chairman, Art Front Gallery Co.
General Artistic Director of Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation

Director of Niigata City Art Museum
Professor, Joshibi University of Art and Design

Following his graduation from the Tokyo University of Art and Music, Kitagawa Fram organized various exhibits that introduced works of art that were not well known in Japan at the time and a wide range of art projects, including the 1978 “Antoni Gaudi” exhibition that traveled to 11 cities in Japan and the “Apartheid NON!” international exhibition that was shown at 194 venues nationwide.

Kitagawa has also received high praise for his involvement in activities relating to community development, including the Total Planning of Faret Tachikawa Art Project and Cultural Activities of the Daikanyama Hillside Terrace which was awarded the Mecenat Award Grand Prix.

He served as the general director for Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial in 2000, 2003, and 2006, making a major contribution to regional development through art.
He is the recipient of many awards, including the Cultural Order of Chevalier from the Republic of France, the Cultural Order from the Republic of Poland, and the 2006 Japanese Minister of Education Award for Art (in the field of art promotion).

Kitagawa is expected to organize many new projects in the coming years and is currently participating in an international art festival spanning Naoshima, Inushima, and other islands in the Seto Inland Sea and others.

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The Japan Foundation Special Prize for Japanese-Language
LEVY Hideo [U.S.A.]
Novelist; Professor, Hosei University


Photo: INAKOSHI Koichi

Levy Hideo is the first Westerner to become a novelist in Japanese. Born in 1950 in California, he spent his childhood in Taiwan and Hong Kong, moving to Japan when he was 16. He subsequently lived alternately in Japan and the United States, receiving a doctorate from Princeton University and teaching Japanese literature at Princeton and Stanford Universities. He currently resides in Tokyo.


He received the National Book Award in 1982 for his English translation of the Man’yoshu. He made his literary debut in Japanese in 1992 with Seijoki no kikoenai heya (The Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot be Heard), which won the Noma Literary Prize for New Writers. He has been a professor at Hosei University since 1994. His other works include Tiananmen, Kokumin no uta, Henri Takeshi Rewitsuki no natsunokiko, Nihongo no shori, Shinjuku no Man’yoshu, Aidentitizu, Saigo no kokkyo e no tabi, Nihongo o kaku heya, Ware teki Chugoku, Eigo de yomu Man’yoshu. Levy received the Osaragi Jiro Prize in 2005 for his novel, Chiji ni kudakete.

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The Japan Foundation Special Prize for Japanese Studies
Ayşe Selçuk ESENBEL [Turkey]
Professor, Bosphorus University; President, Japanese Studies Association

Ayşe Selçuk Esenbel completed her undergraduate degree in History in the International Christian University (Japan) and George Washington University (USA). She received her master's degree from the Department of Japanese Language and Linguistics at Georgetown University (USA) in 1969 and a PhD in Japanese history from Columbia University (USA) in 1981. From 1982 to 1985, she was assistant professor at Bosphorus (Boğaziçi) University and became full professor in 1997, serving as Chair of the Department of History at Bosphorus University between 1994 and 2003. She has not only helped educate many junior scholars in her country but has also been actively promoting exchange between Turkey and Japan.

Esenbel helped establish the Japanese Studies Association in 1993 and consolidated the organization as a Board Member. She became its third president in 2002 and has since contributed to academic and intellectual exchange between the two countries through the organization and hosting of various conferences and lectures.

She contributed to the establishment of a Japanese language department at Ankara University in 1986 and a Japanese language teaching program at Bosphorus University in 1988, and the Japanese Studies Certificate in 2002. Her major publications in English include Even the Gods Rebel: The Peasants of Takaino and the 1871 Nakano Uprising in Japan and The Rising Sun and the Turkish Crescent (co-authored). Her articles in Japanese are published in such books as Kindai Nihon to Toruko sekai and Ibunka rikai no shiza: Sekai kara mita Nihon, Nihon kara mita sekai. Her articles in English are published in journals such as the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (UK), and The American Historical Review (USA).

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