Award Ceremony 2004

The Fukuoka Prize 2004 Award ceremony

September 17, 2004 (14:00 - 16:00)
ACROS Fukuoka Symphony Hall

The Prize Presentation Ceremony for the 15th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes 2004 was held with attendance by approximately 850 people, including Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, representatives from the embassies of the laureates’ countries, exchange students in Fukuoka, guests from international exchange organizations, business circles, universities, and local organizations as well as the citizens of Fukuoka City.

At the ceremony, His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino delivered an Imperial Address, followed by an introduction of the laureates’ profiles on a video screen and the prize presentation by the organizing committee.  Congratulatory addresses were also made by guests, H. E. Ambassador Kawai Masao from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kawai Hayao,  Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs (Director Nishisaka Noboru, Arts and Culture Division, Cultural Affairs Dept. of the Agency read on his behalf), and Governor Aso Wataru of Fukuoka Prefecture, praising the laureates’ contributions.  Each of the laureates expressed their joy upon receiving the prizes and shared their views with the citizens of Fukuoka City.

A special music performance of the sarod by the Grand Prize laureate Mr. Amjad Ali Khan and his group added an extra touch of beauty to the ceremony.

Address by Prince Akishino

Distinguished Guests, ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great pleasure for me to join you at the Prize Presentation Ceremony of the 15th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes 2004 in Fukuoka, a city which has prospered through various exchanges with Asia since ancient times.  I would like to express my congratulations this year, marking its 15th anniversary, and at the same time, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the many people who have been involved in establishing the program. 

In recent years, many countries in Asia have devoted their time to economic advancement influenced by the globalization movement.  However, when we observe much closer our society, we notice that great efforts have also been made for the maintenance of traditional culture and these efforts have proved fruitful, also resulted in the birth of distinctive new cultures.  Personally, I have visited various parts of Asia in the past and whenever I touched upon their original cultures, I was impressed by the profundity and richness of their cultural assets.  

I believe that the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes which honor those who have contributed to the advancement of cultural merits in Asia is very significant.  I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the four laureates who receive the Grand Prize, Academic Prizes, and the Arts and Culture Prize today.  I am confident that what you have achieved will contribute not only to the enrichment of culture in your own countries but also to the whole human society.  

In closing my message, I wish all the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize Laureates will take active roles in the future and I also wish that the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes will further cultivate a better understanding of Asia amongst people.

Acceptance Speech by Amjad Ali KHAN (Grand Prize)

“Namaskaar and good evening your Excellencies and friends.

I have no words to express my gratitude to the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize Committee.

The Grand prize is a great honour not only for me, but it’s an honour for my country and to Indian classical music. I feel fortunate to be born in this soil and to have been able to spread the message of our age-old tradition across the world.

My relationship with Japan goes back many years. I have visited most of the cities, in fact I was very fortunate to be the first Indian performer to have played at the magnificent Santury Hall in Tokyo in 1989. Japan has always fascinated me with its technical and electronic achievements, but now through the Fukuoka Asian Culture Grand prize, it has overwhelmed me even personally. I admire Japanese music immensely, which is exceptionally unique.

Music can be appreciated without knowing it. It should be felt and experienced. Music is the food for the soul and is a celebration of life. I cannot remember a particular day when I was initiated into the world of music. It was part of me as far as I can remember. Indeed, I cannot think of a moment when music has been separated from my life. My father and guru, the legendary Maestro Haafiz Ali Khan Saheb lived for music.

Today, a wise man does not allow his son to become a classical musician, because of the uncertainty and insecurity of a livelihood. That’s why in the past, only Sufi saints and fakirs could dedicate their lives to music or to god almighty. Though for my father, there was no life outside the world of music. Music was life itself.  Born to him, I inherited a musical legacy of five generations as naturally as a bird takes to flying.  They are responsible for the solid foundation of art in both North and south Indian system of music. There is an old saying in Hindi ‘Swar Hi Ishwar Hai’. Through music, I feel connected with every soul, with every religion and with every song of the world.

Music has been the greatest wealth that I inherited from my forefathers, something that I am constantly sharing with my disciples. It was indeed a great moment for my wife Subhalakshmi and me when my two sons, representing the seventh generation of musicians in my family began to play Sarod. Considering today’s distractions and musical pollution, Amaan and Ayaan’s playing is perhaps god’s wish that this tradition is carried forward.

I thank god for giving me my wife Subhalakshmi, who, I feel, is the first Guru to Amaan and Ayaan. An artist herself of great repute, she has been a pillar and strength in my life. A beautiful soul, she has created an atmosphere of artistic inspiration that has kept me going. My sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, both hardworking, talented and kind human beings, make me proud when I see them as role models for today’s youth. My family would not be complete without my dedicated disciples who have played a tremendous role in my musical journey and of course all my music lovers across the world.

It is indeed a matter of great satisfaction to be recognized by the Fukuoka Asian Culture prize committee. It is humbling and heartening to know that the Award committee maintains a level par excellence, as I understand that the Grand prize Awardee is nominated by around four thousand people around the world. It is my privilege to accept this award with utmost humility. 

Thank you.

Acceptance Speech by LI Yining (Academic Prize)

It is truly a great honor to be given the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.

I am professor at Peking University, specializing in economics. Over the years, I have focused my studies on the economic reform in China, arguing that the final goal of the reform shall be the transformation of the system from the planned economy to the market economy by thoroughly reforming the ownership of national companies. To put it concretely, it is necessary to shift state-run companies to stock companies, in which diversification of capital unit is available.  For that purpose, a through changeover of government’s functions is needed.  While the government shall be shifted from the almighty government” to the one providing services to companies as an administrator, further development of the capital market shall be pursued. The idea of developing private companies has to be supported and promoted in order to solve the issue of reemployment of those who have lost their jobs due to state-run company reform and to deal with excessive labor migrating from rural area to the city.  For over 2o years, I have continued my research in this transformation of state ownership. My proposals have gradually gained support among leaders of China and now the policies are employed in various governmental policies.

I would like to extend my appreciation to the experts of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes for their understanding and support for the economic reform of China. I also would deeply appreciate your recognition of what I have achieved in my research.

China has shown signs of rapid economic development, owing to the government’s efforts to reform its economy into market economy.  Various problems derived in the process the economic development in China can only be solved through reform, thus I could firmly foresee China continues steady progress in its economy. I would like to continue to work hard not to fail to meet your expectations and do what I can do for achieving the peaceful rise of China.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us firmly believe that China, with increasingly prosperous economic development, certainly makes great contribution to the world peace and development, and at the same time, it will further promote intercommunication between China and other Asian countries.

Ladies and gentlemen, with my sincere appreciation, I wish people of Fukuoka further happiness. My expectation also goes to Fukuoka city to play a bigger role in cultural exchange with the world.

Acceptance Speech by Ram Dayal RAKESH (Academic Prize)

First of all please allow me to extend my sincerest and heartfelt thanks to the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize Committee for providing me this prestigious award.

I am pleased and honored to be the first Nepali to receive this Academic prize of the 15th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes 2004. Receiving the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize is a great inspiration for me and I consider it as a new starting point for studying and researching further the folklores of Mithila. This prize they gave me has brought a new spring in my life and has also given enthusiasm to start working again in the area more vigorously. So, I am really grateful to the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize committee for recognizing me as the laureate of the Academic prize of 15th Fukuoka Asian Culture prizes 2004.

Let me express and explain here what is Mithila and Mithila culture in short. Mithila is very old and an ancient kingdom whose capital was Janakpur.Karal Janak was the king of Mithila whose dutiful daughter was janaki. She had been married to Lord Rama, the son of Dasharath king of Ayodhya .Thus Mithila has built a cultural bridge between Nepal and India .The world famous epic the Ramayan has been written depicting different events and episodes of their lives.

Mithila is the second language of Nepal. Mithila has been a cultural tower which has been inspiring and reminding of the glorious past of its people living in the vast areas of Nepal, India and abroad. It has also been a key cultural link between different kingdoms of Nepal in the past like Kirat, Karnat and Malla period which has immensely contributed towards cultural upliftment of Mithila especially in the Malla period which is considered golden age for the all-round development of this great tradition . It is an ancient civilization, endowed with a colorful folk culture manifested in many fold fields such as oral tradition and folk literature.

The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes provide us a suitable opportunity to exchange our own culture and to learn from each other, promoting a fusion of different and diverse cultures of Asia as a whole.

I am particularly pleased to have been honored in Japan ,which I have already visited twice .I sincerely and heartily thank the people of Fukuoka city for making this beautiful event possible ,and allowing my spouse and me to be a part of it .We feel extremely privileged and honored .Fukuoka is just fantastic and its people are very friendly .

I hope the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes will continue to be an instrument to embody respect to those who have contributed greatly to science, arts and cultures of Asia.

With these few words I would like to conclude my acceptance speech. 

Thanking you all for kind attention.

Acceptance Speech by Sembukuttiarachilage Roland SILVA (Arts and Culture Prize)

It is, indeed, a happy moment in my life to be honoured with the distinction of receiving an Arts and Culture Prize for Asia. I am equally delighted that the Award is for the highest advancement in the “evolved state of the species called humans”. I was able to trace the development of the “Species called Man” in the keynote to the Advancement of Science of Sri Lanka, and illustrated that the highest achievement was the growth of the element called “Culture”. I had also requested the World Bank, to assess the growth of humans by changing the “Index of Development” by recognizing Man from the lesser creatures. In other words, humankind should be valued according to the highest achievements, namely, ‘culture’ and ‘religion’, and not confined merely to a ‘food basket’, upon which unit of measure, even the animal world is assessed. Accordingly, my proposal was to change the present index of the “Quality of Life” to a new measure such as the “Quality of Contentment.”

I have also addressed the cultural intellectuals of the world in Yogjakarta in my specialized field covering “Monuments and Sites of Humankind”, whereby, I have shown that humans are moving fast towards an uneasy state of “Excessive Leisure” loaded with “Fat Salaries” due to the invention of a “Machine Monster” which will reduce the working period of humans to three days per week by the year 2010, in the most developed continent, namely, Europe. Our solution to such a phenomenon of “Over-Leisure,” was in Man “Imbibing Culture” in a more specific way. One such exercise would be to “visit the many historic monuments and sites” of humankind and enjoy the inert spirit of the civilizations of a bye-gone era, and abstract their frozen thoughts. In short, translate the vision of the Minister of Fine Arts of France of 1881 when he said, “The keeps .,... of Carcassonne and Avignon instruct us about the power of the feudal regime. In these books of stone we find …. the soul of history”. We referred to these monuments as our “Dumb Friends”, when we said once that, “Man can sing and cry, animals can yell and moan, but monuments remain our dump and immobile friends and keep perpetuating their vigil from generation to generation”.

Ladies and Gentleman, these many thoughts, that “culture is the index of the highest levels of evolution as achieved by humans”, are found in many of my presentations. I leave four volumes of such essays. I am proud to be recognized by Fukuoka, the “City of Culture”, of Japan, in the most advanced Nation of Asia. I accept this honour of being the “Laureate of Art and Culture for Asia” in all humility. I do promise the people of Fukuoka to continue the efforts in extending the “joy of culture” to every human being. I believe that, “as much as Food and Drink are a part of the daily diet of Man, Culture should be a part of the Daily Appetite of Humankind”. The natural process of evolution needs to continue until all humans can imbibe the “joy of culture”. Dear citizens of Fukuoka, thank you for raising this “enlightened want of all humans” to focus. I trust the example set by you, will remain a beacon of everlasting light, until all humans imbibe the “joy of culture”, as a part of their “daily diet”.

Ladies and Gentleman, On behalf of my wife and myself, Thank you, Your Worship the Mayor of the City of Fukuoka, Thank you, the People of Fukuoka, Thank you, all enlightened people of culture.

Celebration Banquet 2004

September 17, 2004 (18:30 - 20:00)
Hotel Nikko Fukuoka, “Tukushi” room

The honorable laureates and their accompanying persons received a warm welcome from approximately 180 guests.

Representing the organizers, Mr. Kawai Tatsuo, Chairman of the Yokatopia Foundation delivered his greetings and H. E. Mr. Karunatilaka Amunugama, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka served as the toastmaster on behalf of all the distinguished guests.

The banquet proceeded in a friendly atmosphere where laureates and guests enhanced their friendship.

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