The Japan Foundation Awards (2012) Profile


Department of Japanese Language and Civilization, National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) [France]

Photo of INALCO The first Japanese-language course in France opened in 1862. This marked the beginning of Japanese-language education in France and the department which is now one of the largest institutions in Europe. Over the years, the department has produced many translators, teachers of Japanese-language, diplomats and distinguished scholars in the broad field of Japanese studies. It plays an essential role in the French-Japanese relationship.

The Japan Foundation's involvement with the recipients

INALCO (National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations) and the Japan Foundation has been working together to promote Japanese Studies and Japanese language education in France and other part of Europe.
The two institutions have held conferences and symposia to promote Japanese culture and literature in France. (ex. "La cithare japonaise dans le Roman du Genji" (2012), "L'essor de la photographie au Japon, 1900-1945" (2009)) Some of the researchers of INALCO were awarded Japanese Studies Fellowships from the Foundation. The Foundation has donated various books related to Japanese Studies and materials for learning Japanese language to INALCO. INALCO is also the implementing agency of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in France.

Haruki Murakami (Writer/Translator) [Japan]

Photo of Haruki Murakami Born in Kyoto in 1949. Graduated from the Department of Literature, Waseda University. Debut with Hear the Wind Sing in 1979. Many of his works, including A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore and 1Q84, as well as short stories, non-fiction books and essays, have been translated and published in about 45 languages. His outstanding stories and description to present new perspectives of the world have attracted young generations in the world enthusiastically, sparking the interest of foreign readers in Japanese language, literature and culture. He was presented with the Franz Kafka Prize, the Jerusalem Prize and the Catalonia International Prize, as well as the prizes in Japan. He has also translated a number of works, focusing on American literature.

The Japan Foundation's involvement with the recipients

Japan Foundation has assisted the translation of 22 of Murakami works, such as "Dansu, dansu, dansu", "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle", "A Wild Sheep Chase", into 15 foreign languages all over the world.
Also Japan Foundation organized a reading session in Germany and a lecture in Czech Republic, inviting Murakami himself.
Other than these events, various reading sessions and symposia about Murakami and his works have been presented by the Japan Foundation. (ex. "A Wild Haruki Chase: How the World Is Reading and Translating Murakami" (2005))

Irene Hirano Inouye, President, U.S.-Japan Council [U.S.A.]

Photo of Irene Hirano Inouye Irene Hirano Inouye is the former President and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, Calif., which aims to promote the history and experiences of Japanese Americans as part of the American heritage. After 20 years of service to the National Museum, she established the U.S.-Japan Council in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit organization that brings together leaders from both sides of the Pacific and organizes various exchange programs to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations. Her role was instrumental in launching the "TOMODACHI Initiative" with the United States and Japanese governments to deepen friendship and foster the next generation of young in the two nations for the long-term support of Japan's recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. For many years she has acted as a bridge and contributed greatly to fostering ties between the people of the United States and Japan. The Japanese American National Museum is a recipient of The Japan Foundation Special Prize in 1999.

The Japan Foundation's involvement with the recipients

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and the U.S.-Japan Council have both been long-time collaborator and recipients of grants from the Japan Foundation.
JANM, of which she was the founding CEO and former President, is the recipient of the Japan Foundation Special Prizes in 1999. The Japan Foundation supported various projects by JANM to promote deeper understanding of Japanese-American history and culture in the United States.
She also has been committed to "Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) Program" , which has been co-organized with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Japan Foundation. She has an important role as a coordinator at public symposia that were held each year as part of JALD program.

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