Award Ceremony 2005

The Fukuoka Prize 2005 Award ceremony

September 15, 2005 (14:00 - 16:20)
Fukuoka International Congress Center, Main Hall

The Prize Presentation Ceremony for the 16th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes 2005 was held in a solemn atmosphere with the attendance of approximately 1,000 people, including Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, representatives from the embassies of the laureates’ countries, guests from international exchange organizations, business circles, universities, exchange students in Fukuoka, and local organizations as well as the citizens of Fukuoka City. 

At the ceremony, brief introductions of the laureates’ achievements were made, after which the laureates appeared on stage in a big round of applause from the audience.  Greetings from the organizing representative, an Imperial address delivered by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino and the summary of the screening process were made before the laureates were bestowed their prizes by the organizing committee representatives.  Each of the laureates expressed their joy upon receiving the prizes, their views on Asia and messages to the citizens of Fukuoka City.  At the grand finale, students at Fukuoka International School presented the laureates with flower bouquets, inviting another generous applause from the floor.

A Korean singer-songwriter “Ryu” added an extra touch of beauty to the ceremony in his special musical performance.

Address by Prince Akishino

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great pleasure for me to be with you at the Prize Presentation Ceremony of the 16th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes 2005.

It is well known that many Asian countries and regions have grown economically and earned a certain reputation as one of the most active areas in the world. Since the advancement of the economy and globalization are closely linked, the cultures of each country may come under pressure to become uniform.  On the other hand, we notice that great efforts have also been made for the maintenance of traditional culture and mutually founded distinctive new cultures are in existence in Asian countries today. Personally, I have visited various parts of Asia in the past and whenever I have come into contact with their   original cultures, I have been impressed by the profundity and diversity of their cultural assets, and often amazed at the changes of these distinctive cultures.

The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes which honor those who have contributed to the preservation and creation of Asian culture in  the actively advancing Asian countries are very significant. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the 4 laureates who receive the Grand Prize, the Academic Prize, and the Arts and Culture Prizes today. I am confident that what you have achieved will contribute not only to the enrichment of the culture of your own countries but also the significance of Asian culture to the whole of human society.

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

Acceptance Speech by IM Dong-kwon (Grand Prize)

I am tremendously honored and grateful to have been given the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize by Fukuoka City and the Yokatopia Foundation.

My field of studies is Korean olklore. I specialize in Korean folklore, but my curiosity in exchange with neighboring ethnic groups and cultural propagation also made me involved in the studies of comparative folklore.  In my folkloric fieldwork, I visited northward to Mongolia, China and Sakhalin, and, southward to Japan, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. As a result, I learned that a large number of cases of northern cultures had moved southward.

Korea is a mainland peninsula, connected with Japanese archipelago over the strait and advanced cultures from the mainland was frequently transmitted to Japan vie Korea since the ancient times.  What should not be forgotten is the fact that movements of earth’s crust about 20,000 years ago caused part of the land to go under the water, making Japan an island being isolated from the mainland.  In other words, Japan being a part of the mainland long before 20,000 years ago, must have allowed people to cross the land on foot and to share the same culture freely.  This poses us a question that, when we think of the ancient culture of Japan, it is not enough just focusing our attention on the Sea of Genkai of what we see today, but we also need to recognize that Japan, like Korea was a part of the mainland over 20,000 years ago.

Disconnection of Japan and the mainland by the sea made the traffic impossible. However, improvement of the sea navigation technology and shipbuilding technology 2,000 and 3,000 years ago enabled the mainland culture cross the waters, reaching Japan via Korean Peninsula, bringing frequent exchange.  Fukuoka geographically played an important role as a gateway for the exchange.

From the view point of diffusionism, I have had an interest in Japan’s folkloric cultures and kept on the studies.  My following titles were translated and published in Japan. They are:Baekje Culture in Japan, Daishogun Shinko no Kenkyu(A Study on Daejanggun Belief), and The Korean Mission and Culture Propagation. I want to know the truth of Asian culture in a broader sense. Sharing the same culture can bring us the improved mutual reliability, deepened understanding, enabling coexistence, and peace.

I understand that the organizer named this prize the “Asian Culture Prizes” because they wanted to promote mutual understanding by crossing the boundaries of nations and races as well as to pursue coexistence.  I would like to express my sincerest appreciation and respect to the organizers of this event.

Before closing, I would also like to thank all the people here attending at this ceremony. 

Thank you very much.

Acceptance Speech by Thaw Kaung (Academic Prize)

Your Excellencies, Esteemed Members of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize Committee and Distinguished Friends,

It is indeed a great honour for me to receive the prestigious Fukuoka Asian Culture Academic Prize for 2005, this year.  As the first librarian and the second Myanmar to receive the prize, I feel very glad that it is an honour to the profession of librarianship and to my country Myanmar (Biruma) also. 

I worked as a librarian in various libraries of the Yangon University main campus for about 40 years, retiring as the Chief Librarian of the Universities Central Library which I headed for 28 years.  I also had the opportunity to establish the first Department of Library and Information Studies at Yangon University in 1971.  In my life-work I made a total commitment to my profession, serving every scholar and reader in their search for information, regardless of race, nationality, or religion.

It has been a privilege for me to have served my country and my people, and in a broader perspective Southeast Asia and Asia as a whole, by collecting rare manuscripts on palm-leaf and parabike handmade paper, and thus preserving the literary and historical records of the past, to enrich Asian culture.

Librarians are important intermediaries in the ever-widening human horizon of information and knowledge. From the last decades of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st  century, an immense information explosion has been taking place in science, technology, humanities, arts and culture, and in all fields of human endeavour.  Librarians can play important roles to harness and make readily available this priceless treasure trove of information and knowledge.  As custodians of knowledge they should encourage at the same time peace and tolerance, reconciliation and not confrontation among people of all nations and forge a pathway for all humanity to live in harmony with each other.

Although libraries have flourished in Myanmar for a thousand years and more, when I first decided to become a librarian about 50 years ago, it was a new profession in my country with only a few librarians trained in foreign lands.  I took “a road less travelled by,” and this has indeed made all the difference in my life, and I hope in those I have been able to assist.

During the four decades of my active work as a librarian and a teacher of library studies I have tried to imbue in my numerous students a spirit of service to all people, to have open minds and to preserve human values enshrined in books and writings of all ages.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the citizens of Fukuoka City and the Yokatopia Foundation for their generosity and fore-sight in establishing the Asian Culture Prizes and for awarding me the Academic Prize for this year.

I would also like to thank my wife and family, especially my three sons, for their constant support in my work, living with books and all types of writings.

In concluding my Acceptance Speech I would like to wish everyone present this afternoon, and especially the people of Fukuoka and Japan, peace, prosperity and progress and the ability to successfully over-come the challenges of our new information society.

Thank you all very much.

Acceptance Speech by Douangdeuane BOUNYAVONG (Arts and Culture Prize)

This is indeed, a moment of great of happiness in my life to be a recipient of the 16th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.  The honor is not only for myself but also for all Lao weavers both past and present, who continue to pass on traditional weaving skills and produced beautiful fabrics for daily.

I have been profoundly impressed by the value placed on cultural by Fukuoka citizens and the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes Committee.  Art and Culture belong to all mankind and should be freely exchanged, shared and enjoyed.  An 80-year old Japanese scholar once told me that culture is every one’s concern and we should not wait for orders to promote it. I have never forgotten this but have applied it to my life.  

The work of preserving the national heritage such as antique textiles is seldom done by an individual.  It poses many difficulties and can be misunderstood by others.  When I started this work I had no background it this area.  However I have been helped by my late father’s research into classical Lao literature found on palm leaf manuscripts.  This has provided much special information that would not available to foreign scholars due to the language barrier. 

Weaving traditions in Asia have been passed on for a thousand years.  In spite of difficult period in our country, Lao weavers have never abandoned weaving items for daily use.  Thanks to their perseverance, hand woven skirts are still today one of the strongest element expressing Lao culture.  Being a weaver enables a woman, with little or no education to produce income for her family and gives her an acceptable social standing.  These women learn from samples of old textiles.  However, when the country opened its doors to the outside world in the 90s, many of the arts and crafts, including antique textiles, were threatened.  There was a need to preserve these textiles in their home country and this became my aim.  Many activities and projects have been implemented in order to raise awareness on the historical and cultural value of antique textiles with financial support from NGOs and international organizations, both from the government and private sector.  The results are impressive.  The Lao Women’s Union established a textile gallery The Art of Silk in 1992.  Production at the grass roots level has become more intense with some provinces building showrooms for their local products.  Female students are also wearing uniforms woven on their mother’s looms.  In addition I have a small collection of Lao antique textiles which are displayed in a private gallery.  In cooperation with my colleagues, we have published a book on the history of Lao textiles along with detailed patterns and motifs, which could be used as a model for reproduction.

On behalf of my family and relatives, I would like to thank the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize Committee and the Fukuoka citizens.  This prize is confirmation of the path my two daughters and beloved late husband have walked with me.

Acceptance Speech by Tashi Norbu (Arts and Culture Prize)

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Greetings to the friendly people of Japan, particularly to the residents of Fukuoka.  May I first express my heartfelt gratitude to the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes Committee for bestowing this prestigious honor on me.

I have endeavored to promote the cultural heritage of the Kingdom with an attempt to revive not only the ancestral songs, dances and mask dances but by placing importance to expose our ethnic costumes and attires through our performances.  I am indeed very proud that today, in the presence of most distinguished gathering that my twenty years of perseverance and dedication is being recognized and rewarded.  This award is not only for me but also for the people and the government of Bhutan.  While, like most countries strive to increase Gross National Product, we pursue what is known as Gross National Happiness.  It is in line with this development philosophy that preservation and promotion of cultural heritage is considered, one of the four pillars of Gross National Happiness.

As a young boy I grew up in the atmosphere of music. My father, Dasho Aku Tongmi, who is a great source of inspiration to me, was the founder of the Royal Bhutan Army Band.  He was also involved in composing the National Anthem of Bhutan.  While I am highly indebted to my father, I take pride to express my gratitude to my family members, particularly my mother, my wife, son and daughter who continues to give me their unstinted support.

Today, sadly, our youth are exceedingly exposed to new values such as materialism and consumerism.  If our invaluable inheritance is to continue to survive and flourish, our younger generation must shoulder the responsibility to accept their role as custodians of a distinct culture, tradition, values and principles on which our country was founded.  Our heritage remains a living history still kept intact, but we cannot be complacent, we have to inculcate the coming generations to continue to work tirelessly in the promotion and preservation of our music and dances so that our distinct culture is passed on from generation to generation.  This is exactly why Tashi Nencha was established in 1987.

This prestigious award will undoubtedly give me further inspiration and motivation in my work.  It is with the support of organizations such as yours that Tashi Nencha is able to make concerted efforts to move closer towards preserving and conserving our age old art, culture and heritage.

Finally, on behalf of my wife and on my own behalf, I take this opportunity to thank His Excellency the Mayor of Fukuoka, the Chairperson of Yokatopia Foundation and the Committee members of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes, for the exemplary manner in which this award ceremony has been organized.

Tashi Delek.

Celebration Banquet 2005

September 15, 2005 (17:00 - 18:30)
Fukuoka Sanpalace, Palace Room

The honorable laureates and their accompanying persons received a warm welcome from approximately 170 guests.

Representing the organizers, Mr. Yamasaki Hirotaro, Mayor of Fukuoka City delivered his greetings and H. E. Mr. Soukthavone Keola, Ambassador of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Japan 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.  Finally Mr. Kawai Tatsuo, Chairman of Yokatopia Foundation made a closing address to conclude the successful gathering.

Download the Anuual Report 2005

You can download the annual report 2005 in Adobe PDF to check all the events and programs of the Fukuoka Prize 2005.

Download the Anuual Report 2005

Official program reports

Click to see more 2005 reports.