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Getting to know more about the Japan Foundation

Chapter 4
Promoting Understanding of and Participation in International Cultural Exchanges

The Japan Foundation gives the Japan Foundation Awards and the Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship to individuals and groups who have contributed to deepening mutual understanding between Japan and the world through international cultural exchange, and to groups who engage in outstanding community-based international cultural exchange.

The Japan Foundation Awards

The Japan Foundation Awards are given to individuals and groups who make significant contributions to the enhancement of international understanding and the promotion of international friendship through academic and artistic or other cultural activities, and who are expected to continue to engage in such activities. In FY2016, three recipients were chosen from a total of 89 individuals and groups.

FY2016 Recipients

Photo of Mr. Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang, Qatar, 2016. Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Cai Guo-Qiang / China (Modern Artist)

A globally renowned artist born in China, who bloomed as an artist in Japan. In recent years, he is realizing large-scale projects together with local residents featuring outer space and nature as themes, looking back on the history of the region. His artistic efforts are themselves acts of international exchange that connects people of different regions, religions and languages.

Photo of Ms. Susan J. Pharr
Susan J. Pharr / USA
(Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics and Director of the Program on US-Japan Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University)

Susan J. Pharr has led research on Japan in the US over many years, and her discernment of Japanese politics founded on a viewpoint of comparative politics has won wide acclaim. She has also supported numerous research fellows and contributed to the advancement of mutual international understanding, particularly with regard to Japan and the US.

Photo of Centro Brasileiro de Língua Japonesa (CBLJ)
Centro Brasileiro de Língua Japonesa (CBLJ) / Brazil

Through the cultivation of Japanese language instructors, research and development of educational materials and methods, and international exchange, the CBLJ has supported the development of over 1,000 Japanese-language instructors, and supports the education of approximately 20,000 students every year. The CBLJ plays a central role in Japanese-language education, not only in Brazil but also throughout in Latin America.

The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship

The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship are awarded to organizations in Japan that engage in original, forward-thinking initiatives for deepening ties between Japan and other countries, facilitating the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and information, and encouraging collaborative thinking. In FY2016, three organizations were selected for prizes from a list of 133, bringing the total number of recipients to 100 in the history of the prize.

FY2016 Recipients

Photo of Norte Japón, Cosquín en Japón Executive Committee
Norte Japón (Cosquín en Japón Executive Committee)

In 1975, Norte Japón, a group of enthusiasts of the provincial Andean music of South America, founded the annual Cosquín en Japón festival, now a major event drawing some 10,000 people. In recent years the festival has been the scene of vibrant exchanges with South America. This group was awarded the prize in recognition of the 41-year history of a town devoting itself to hosting cultural exchange.

Photo of the Kumamoto International Foundation
Kumamoto International Foundation

Established in 1993, the Kumamoto International Foundation (KIF) runs several programs, including the Multicultural Society Promotion Project, and Global-citizen Education Project. After the Kumamoto Earthquake, the KIF set up a disaster-relief multilingual and multicultural support center to meet the needs of its visitors. KIF's multicultural society promotion program was recognized with this prize for being a model to other programs.

Photo of the Iōjima District Board
Iojima District Board

Iojima is known as an island of the djembe drum of Guinea, and cultural exchange has continued vigorously after Mamady Keïta, the "god of djembe," visited the island in 1994. The island is home to a djembe school, and the Iojima District Board manages the school, and provides all manner of support for djembe activities. These activities were highly rated as a model of international exchange in a small region.