Award Ceremony 2013
The Fukuoka Prize 2013 Award ceremony
- Thursday, September 12
- Fukuoka Symphony Hall (ACROS Fukuoka)
- Judy ONGG
The 24th Fukuoka Prize award ceremony was held, attended by Fukuoka citizens, foreign guests, and representatives from various fields to honor the laureates.
This year’s award ceremony opened with a glorious solo performance by the Korean opera singer Jung Se Hun, followed by the appearance of the four honorable laureates, making their way to the stage through the center of an auditorium resounding with applause from the audience.
Mr. Soichiro Takashima, Mayor of Fukuoka City, made a welcome address, in which he stated, “This year, here at the Asian Party - regenerated from the previous Asian Month as a creative initiative - we would like to link the laureates’ inspirations to a creation of new values”. This was followed by an address by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino, and a report on the selection process by Professor Setsuo Arikawa, President of Kyushu University and Chair of the Fukuoka Prize Jury.
After that, Mr. Takashima and Mr. Michisada Kamata, Chair of the Fukuoka City International Foundation, presented an award certificate and a medal to each laureate. Following the acceptance speeches by the laureates, a representative of the Fukuoka residents gave a congratulatory message. When children of the Fukuoka International School presented flower bouquets to the prizewinners, the hall burst into a big round of applause.
At the second session of the ceremony, the four laureates had an interactive talk with the Fukuoka residents in the audience. Each laureate presented a topic, such as “What I prioritize in my activities” and “My dream”. Dr. Tetsu Nakamura expressed his expectation for the implications of the award, saying, “One should not place value on cultural difference as good or bad, superior or inferior. In terms of this perspective, this prize is playing a significant role”. Finally Mr. Jung Se Hun reappeared on the stage for another dynamic performance, in which he sang both the female and male parts by himself, brilliantly bringing the ceremony to a close.
Address by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino
Today, as we begin the award ceremony, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to the four laureates of the Fukuoka Prize. With the advancement of international globalization in recent years, uniformity in thinking and lifestyle choices have spread throughout societies, including Asian regions.
Despite this trend, many countries and regions are endeavouring to preserve and pass on their unique cultures and traditions, even as they develop new cultures. Asia has been blessed by the diversity of its natural environments and cultural climates, as well as unique languages, histories, and customs that have evolved throughout history, that add richness and depth to its many cultures. Whenever I travel in Asia, I am always impressed by its cultural depth and richness, and this is why I strongly believe in the importance of preserving and imparting cultural heritage.
It seems to me that the Fukuoka Prize is profoundly meaningful because of its aim to contribute to the preserving, imparting, and creating of unique and diverse cultures throughout Asia. I believe the outstanding achievements of the laureates are significant contributions not only to Asian cultures, but to the world, and that they will become a valuable part of the heritage of humankind, to be shared by all of society and handed down to the next generation. I would like to conclude by expressing my respect to the laureates, and my hope, that the Fukuoka Prize will continue to promote understanding of Asian cultures, as well as peace and friendship in the international community.
Acceptance Speech by NAKAMURA Tetsu (Grand Prize)
I am thankful and delighted to receive this honor and to become one of the recipients of the Fukuoka Prize. Afghanistan, for the last 35 years, has suffered from conflicts and interventions from foreign countries, alongside large-scale droughts and floods that have lead to a gradual loss of habitable environments. The impact of climate change and global warming is overwhelming. The once agricultural nation is now suffering from starvation, and their sufficiency rate has decreased by half. Since international aid agencies did not prioritize the water shortage, we as a medical organization, had no choice but to secure drinking water sources ourselves, building water facilities and water intake works. We are now about to develop an exemplar model of rehabilitation by securing 16,500 hectares of inhabitable land for 650,000 farmers.
War will never be the solution. Military interventions have only worsened situations. This is not a problem unique to Afghanistan. The aggression dominating the international community allows little room for diversity, and the Asian world is suffering from poverty. Not only are the people deprived of food, but also of their unique traditions, their land, their dignity, and their harmony. “Moral and spiritual poverty” is prevalent in pursuit of economic development at any cost. Moreover, the false illusion that humans can have absolute control over nature will surely bring fatal devastation to the world. The Tower of Babble, in its indifference to nature, will soon collapse. Human beings are also a part of Mother Nature. We will not be able to survive unless we seek ways to live in harmony, both between nature and humans, and among peoples, in every element of our activities.
I was deeply encouraged by what the other laureates have said in the past – and realized I was not alone on this path. Although the voices may be small now, I pray that they will one day become a roaring tide.
Acceptance Speech by Tessa MORRIS-SUZUKI (Academic Prize)
It is a real honor and delight to receive this prize. As a historian with a special interest in the relationship between Japan and other countries of East Asia, I am particularly pleased to receive the prize from the city of Fukuoka. Fukuoka has played a central role in the relationship between Japan and its surrounding area. Northeast Asia has become the economic powerhouse of the world, and is a region of extraordinary cultural energy and creativity. It is profoundly important that all the countries of the region should grasp the opportunity of working together to create a peaceful regional future, rather than letting narrow nationalisms pull the region apart.
During the three decades or more that I have been an academic, I have had the privilege of meeting many such people, including academics who have inspired my work and the people who have worked at grassroots level in local communities to build bridges to Asia, and want particularly to pay special tribute to all these people. They include of course my fellow Laureate, Dr. Nakamura.
There are many people who are engaged in work for reconciliation and harmony among the Asian nations, but they do not always receive the attention it deserves from mainstream media and politics. One of the slogans coined by a Korean institute, which has been very actively involved in fostering grassroots links between Korea and Japan, is “I hope, therefore I am”. All of you, who work to build bridges linking Japan with its Asian neighbors, you are our hope for the future. Your work is precious and valued, and will not be in vain. Let us go forward into that future together with hope.
Acceptance Speech by Nalini MALANI (Arts and Culture Prize)
I would like to express my deep appreciation for being awarded with the Fukuoka Prize. When I was informed about the Fukuoka Prize I was proud to see that Vandana Shiva and Romila Thapar, two very important Indian women had received the Prize in the past.
However looking deeper into the history of the Laureates of the Fukuoka Prize, I noticed that since its inception, a female Asian visual artist had never been conferred the Prize although names of great male visual artists were found. Therefore I find it most encouraging that this jury today breaks male dominance.
Today I receive this honor not only for my contribution to the Asian experimental visual arts, but also on behalf of and in recognition of the work of my female colleagues in India and all over Asia. I strongly believe that our future in the 21st century urgently needs a greater cognizance of the feminine side of thought.
Feminine thought exists in both man and woman. It is needed more than ever if we want to overcome our ecological, political, economical and military disasters that rage over our world. I hope that today a small contribution has been made to the much-needed global paradigm shift into a more humanistic and caring society. Namaste.
Acceptance Speech by Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL (Arts and Culture Prize)
I am honored to be recognized among the other three very fine laureates. I would like to share with you my little remembrance.
I grew up in a small town in the northeast of Thailand. There was a guava tree right next to our house and when I climbed up the tree one day, I found the most amazing view – which was the rooftop. As banal as a concrete-tile roof can be, the view offered me such a joy, a joy to have a shifted perspective as simple as that. When trying to learn new things, like riding a bicycle or making a film, I often think of the top of the guava tree. It’s about opening up to new perspectives.What does it feel like if one can recall one’s past lives? It’s about immersing oneself into memories of others.
We live in a time that sharing information is just a click of a button. We realize more and more the beauty of our diversity and at the same time, the atrocities and the prejudices. We just need to remember and record. It is not so difficult to imagine beyond the guava tree. We can set our view to see the world as a large home. What we do matters to one another. Here you have given me an inspiration to continue and to be humble. I will keep tonight in my memory the same way as one keeps love and friendship.
Celebration Banquet 2013
The award ceremony was followed by a celebration banquet, attended by the guests from other countries, interested parties from all quarters, guests from Focus on Asia Fukuoka International Film Festival 2013, and many others.
In his opening address, Mr. Kamata said, “I was very touched by the speeches made by the prizewinners”. This was followed by a speech from the Indian Ambassador to Japan, then a toast by the Afghan Ambassador to Japan to officially open the banquet.
Unlike the solemn atmosphere in the award ceremony, the banquet had a friendly atmosphere, where the laureates and their companions enjoyed relaxed conversations. People circled the laureates, chatted with them, congratulated the prizewinners, and shared thoughts and memories with each other.
Download the Anuual Report 2013
You can download the annual report 2013 in Adobe PDF to check all the events and programs of the Fukuoka Prize 2013.
Official program reports
Click to see more 2013 reports.