The Japan Foundation Prizes for the Promotion of Community-Based Cultural Exchange (2003)

Awardees (in geographical order)

The International Symposium on the Okhotsk Sea & Sea Ice Executive Committee

(Kaiyou Kouryuukan, Motomonbetsu 25, Monbetsu City, Hokkaido 094-0023)
Masaaki Aota, Chairperson
Year of Establishment
Image picture of The International Symposium on the Okhotsk Sea & Sea Ice Executive Committee

The International Symposium on the Okhotsk Sea & Sea Ice was started in 1985 to commemorate the 20th year since the establishment of the Sea Ice Research Laboratory (Ryuuhyouken) in the Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, which is located in Monbetsu City—the city of sea ice. The international Symposium on the Okhotsk Sea & Sea Ice Executive Committee was formed to draw upon the resources of the city to make this symposium a success. The Executive Committee is composed of townspeople from diverse sectors of society and, with the aid of more than 300 volunteers, has been conducting the symposium with the support of the entire town for 18 years.
Researchers from around the world join in the symposium, and presentations are given of the results of scientific research related to sea ice and the Okhotsk Sea. It is also a staging area for grassroots international exchange, and opportunities are created for researchers from abroad to visit local schools and take part in events designed to foster cultural exchange. During the term of the symposium, lectures not only for researchers but also for local residents and a children’s symposium are held to teach how closely related sea ice is to the phenomenon such as global warming.
Local residents and the International Symposium on the Okhotsk Sea & Sea Ice Executive Committee are united in supporting the international scientific exchange, with its close ties to local features, and they have been provided with the opportunity to reevaluate local culture while enjoying the stimulation of international exchange.

Takefu International Music Festival Board

(Takase 2-chome 3-3, Takefu City, Fukui Prefecture 915-0832)
Masaharu Ueki, President
Year of Establishment
Website External link
Social Media Accounts武生国際音楽祭-232636353487695/ External link External link
Image picture of Takefu International Music Festival Board

The Takefu International Music Festival is held annually in early June in Takefu City and the surrounding municipalities. Taken with its predecessor, the Finland Music Festival in Takefu, the last year marked the 14th of the music festival. The Takefu International Music Festival Board is an organization consisting entirely of local volunteers and undertakes the planning of the festival, raises funds and runs the actual festival. The festival today is the product of years spent experimenting with and implementing new ideas in order to develop a program of high quality that includes performances of modern music pieces.
During the eight days of the festival, performances are held not only at the Main Hall of the Takefu Bunka Center, the primary event venue, but also at schools, temples and shrines, hospitals, restaurants, and a host of other locations that serve to envelope the town in music. The passion of the Takefu International Music Festival Board’s local volunteers to have others share in the pleasure of enjoying superlative performances and communicating with musicians and composers from abroad is what maintains the world-class level of this music festival.

Mino Paper Art Village Project Executive Committee

(Izumi-cho 45-3, Mino City, Gifu Prefecture 501-3729)
Michimasa Ishikawa, Chairperson
Year of Establishment
Image picture of Mino Paper Art Village Project Executive Committee

The characteristics of the Artist in Residence Program in Mino Paper Art Village is to provide foreign artists access to the Japanese handmade paper, Mino washi, which possesses 1300 years of history as a traditional craft. Members of the local community comprise the core of the Mino Paper Art Village Project Executive Committee and of the volunteer services that support the creative activities of the artists. These include providing home stays and language interpreting for the three months that the foreign artists reside in Mino, creating a newsletter and other information materials, holding workshops with children at local elementary and junior high schools, providing opportunities for the artists to try papermaking, and organizing exhibitions and other activities that broaden the scope of international exchange.
Artists from abroad experience the superb qualities of Mino washi and are encouraged to use it in their creations, incorporating the unique and inventive ideas for its use, once they have returned to their home countries. Likewise, members of Mino community have been energized by the experience of communicating with artists whose cultural backgrounds imbue them with a free creative spirit that is not constrained by the local tradition.

What We Do