The Japan Foundation Awards (2014): Profile


Sankyo Yanagiya [Japan]

Photo of Sankyo Yanagiya (Rakugo Performer)

Sankyo Yanagiya (Rakugo Performer)

Born on August 4, 1948.Became a disciple of Kosan Yanagiya (5th) in 1967, and advanced to the rank of shin’uchi (master storyteller) in 1981. Sankyo Yanagiya is a proficient rakugo storyteller excelling at classic human nature tales and comical stories. In addition to performing on stage at entertainment halls and one-man shows throughout Japan, he trains his disciples and younger performers as a leading disciple of the Kosan (5th) family, and continues to conduct activities to convey the attractiveness of Japanese language and culture to foreigners who learn Japanese language through his lectures on anecdote storytelling and rakugo performances. In terms of the rakugo performances for international students which have been held at the University of Tsukuba since 2001, he has been involved in it from the planning stages aiming to teach Japanese forms of expression and culture through rakugo. He has performed rakugo and given lectures on anecdote storytelling during the summer session of the Japanese School at Middlebury College in the United States, every year since 2006. In addition, his activities are conducted not only in Japan, but in other countries such as the U.S., Korea, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Poland, etc., and are highly recognized by those involved in Japanese language education all over the world.

Sankyo Yanagiya received the Grand Prize for Young Performers in Performance Art in the shin’uchi division in 1987 and the 63rd Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize (in the Theater for the Masses division) in 2013. He was appointed as a permanent member of the Rakugo Association in 2006. This award is being conferred in recognition of his long years of continuous commitment to Japanese-language education in Japan and overseas, while harnessing the appeals of rakugo as a form of artistic expression.

Peter Drysdale (Professor Emeritus, Australian National University) [Australia]

Photo of Peter Drysdale (Professor Emeritus, Australian National University) [Australia]

Peter Drysdale (Professor Emeritus, Australian National University)

Born on October 24, 1938. Obtained doctorate in economics at ANU. Founded the Australia-Japan Research Centre in 1980 with the cooperation of Australian and Japanese public and private sectors. Known worldwide for policy research on the East Asian and Japanese economy. In particular, his research emphasizing economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region played a significant role in the establishment of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

His book "International Economic Pluralism: Economic Policy in East Asia and the Pacific" (English version: Allen & Unwin and Columbia University, 1988; Japanese version: Mainichi Communications, 1991) won an Asia-Pacific Award (sponsored by the Asian Affairs Research Council and Mainichi Newspapers) in 1989. Became a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) in 1998, and received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from the Government of Japan in 2001. Currently, in addition to working as Emeritus Professor at ANU, he concurrently serves as Head of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research and Editor of the East Asia Forum. This award is being conferred in recognition of his many years of contribution to the promotion of Japan-Australia mutual understanding. (Photo: Peter Drysdale)

Japanese Philology Department, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University [Russia]

Photo of Japanese Philology Department, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University [Russia]

The Japanese Philology Department was established in 1956 when the Institute of Oriental Languages was founded as an institution of Lomonosov Moscow State University, which has a 260-year history. (The name of the institution was changed to Institute of Asian and African Studies in 1972). Since then, the Department has played a central role in Japanese-language education in Russia and the former Soviet Union, producing many teachers and researchers specialized in Japanese language education, and developing Japanese language teaching materials. Graduates of the Japanese Philology Department have been involved with the launch and promotion of Japanese language education at universities in Russia and other countries in the former Soviet Union, Hungary, Germany, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, and elsewhere. The teaching materials developed by the Department are widely used in these countries. Furthermore, the Department has produced many teachers who, upon their graduation, have continued their studies at the graduate school of the University and majored in Japanese language theory and Japanese literature. In addition to Japanese language education, the Department is deeply engaged in the research of Japanese language grammatical theory, lexicology, stylistics, translation theory and Japanese literature, and has produced numerous publications.

Since the 1990s, amid substantial growth in the number of universities and schools commencing Japanese language courses, the Department has been supporting the establishment of those courses and providing personnel as Russia's central institution of Japanese language education. In addition, the Department organizes and holds the Moscow Student Japanese language Speech Contest and the Children's Japanese language Festival – events for students designed to heighten their motivation for learning. The events are implemented through the Association of Japanese Language Teachers in Russia, which was organized under the leadership of the Department's alumni. The Department has been instrumental in the rapid expansion of Japanese language education in primary and secondary education in Russia, kick-starting the trend at its affiliated school. Some 2,000 people have graduated from the Department since its founding. They have been successful as teachers and in a broad range of other fields. Their contributions span: the studies of Japanese-language theory, Japanese literature, and Japanese culture; the promotion of cultural content, such as Japanese films and novels; and the expansion of Japan-Russia foreign and economic relations. In 2012, the abovementioned Association of Japanese Language Teachers in Russia largely made up of the Department's alumni received the Foreign Minister's Commendation on the 25th anniversary of the Association. This award is being conferred in recognition of the Department's dedicated efforts for over 50 years to Japanese-language education in the region, which has supported cultural exchanges, and in recognition of the Department's contribution as a bridge between Japan and Russia.

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