Award Ceremony 2014
The Fukuoka Prize 2014 Award ceremony
- Thursday, September 18
- Fukuoka Symphony Hall (ACROS Fukuoka)
The 25th Fukuoka Prize award ceremony was held in honor of the laureates in the presence of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Fukuoka citizens, foreign guests and representatives from various fields.
The bouncing sound of shamisen and the colorful, formative art by projection mapping added uplifting feelings to the opening of the Fukuoka Prize award ceremony and celebrated its 25th anniversary. Three laureates received tremendous applause as they walked from the center of the audience seats up to the stage. At first, Mr. TAKASHIMA Soichiro, Mayor of Fukuoka City, gave a speech and expressed his resolve to facilitate exchange through Asian Party that has advanced its concept from “Knowing Asia” to "Creating Asia". His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino then congratulated the laureates on their winning the prize. His address was followed by the report on the selection process by Prof. ARIKAWA Setsuo, Chair of Fukuoka Prize Jury and President of Kyushu University. After that Mayor TAKASHIMA and Mr. SUEYOSHI Norio, Chair of the Fukuoka City International Foundation, presented award certificates and medals to the laureates. A representative of Fukuoka City citizens offered a congratulatory message, after which children dressed in formal wear from Fukuoka International School presented the laureates with bouquets, followed by thunderous applause.
The second part opened with speeches by the laureates, then they answered questions from the representatives of citizens, expressing their own thoughts on “Expectation toward Fukuoka”, “Interest in Japanese culture”, and “The source of energy for their work”. In the following part, the audience enjoyed the collaborative performance of Gagaku and Kunqu Opera. The beautiful sound of Gagaku played by Mr. TOGI Hideki, who was dressed in full Japanese court dress of traditional fashion, and the splendid dance by Ms. Xu Sijia, created mesmerizing resonances. The award ceremony was then closed in an elegant atmosphere with Mr. TOGI’s celebratory music that echoed far and away.
Address by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino
At today’s award ceremony, I would like to express my sincere congratulations to the three laureates of the Fukuoka Prize.
The 25th anniversary should become a milestone for this prize and I would like to pay my deep respect to those who have devoted themselves for this prize.
As globalization continues to advance in the international society today, uniform ways of thinking and lifestyle have been spreading throughout each society. On the other hand, I often feel more and more people are now aware of and interested in community identity and diversity.
With such development in mind, the Fukuoka Prize is acknowledged as a profoundly significant prize in that it has been aiming to value unique and diverse Asian cultures and contributing to their preservation and succession, as well as creation of new culture. In the same way with the past laureates, the three laureates present here today have also been working to foster the understanding and the future development of cultural diversity. I believe their remarkable contribution must be appreciated not only within Asia, but by the whole world as well, and should be shared by the whole community and passed on to the next generation as precious heritage of mankind.
At the conclusion of my address, I would like to express my congratulations to the laureates again, and my hope that the Fukuoka Prize will continue to promote understanding toward Asia, as well as peace and friendship in the international community.
Acceptance Speech by Ezra F. VOGEL (Grand Prize)
I would like to express my gratitude to Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Mayor Takashima, and Fukuoka citizens. It is an extreme honor to receive this Fukuoka Prize.
For over 50 years, I have been studying Asia so that American people are better able to understand Asia. As a result, I am here today to receive this award, and I feel very glad.
As you know well, Fukuoka has been playing a special role in exchanges with Asian countries. As Fukuoka is located at the gateway of the mainland China, the Korean Peninsula and south-eastern Asia, this is one of the oldest cities in Japan, and has enjoyed religious, cultural, human and economic intercommunication for many years. Put simply, Japan has continued its exchange with Asia through Fukuoka.
I personally feel so close to Fukuoka. I came to Japan for the first time in 1959, and the following year I visited Fukuoka. Over the following 50 years since that first visit, I have come back to Fukuoka every several years and therefore I feel at home here. Over the years, I have studied and gained deeper understanding about Fukuoka’s economic growth and many other characteristics.
Currently Japan’s relationship with China and Korea is tense and there are issues to be solved. Fukuoka plays an important role to develop exchanges and establish close relationships with these and many other countries, including North Korea and south-eastern countries.
I sincerely appreciate Fukuoka City has established this Prize in order to strengthen and deepen its relationship with Asian countries, and I feel very honored to receive it.
Acceptance Speech by Azyumardi Azra (Academic Prize)
It is indeed a great honor for me to receive this prestigious Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Prize. This is such an honor not only for me, but also for my family, my institution and my country, Indonesia. As I am only a humble academian, receiving this wonderful prize was really beyond my expectation, and I am very grateful.
The award citation describes me as “an outstanding historian, a progressive educator and an Islamic intellectual who has earned high esteem for his advocacy of a centrist, moderate understanding of Islam. He has rendered great service to the development of Islamic studies in Indonesia and to the formation of a harmonious society. His intellectual and practical activities have contributed greatly to cross-cultural understanding in international society.” These words rightly reflect my feeling that I have had throughout my life.
What I aim is to create more harmonious, peaceful world. This should begin with overcoming differences that cause separation and conflict among peoples, and strengthening mutual understanding and respect.
In this age of globalization, tension and conflict persist and continue to inflict humanity, so apparently this task is not an easy one. Therefore, each and all of us should play a noble role in this effort to create a harmonious and peaceful civilization.
I strongly believe that through our concerted effort, we will be able to build a new world for future generations. Therefore let us work harder together. Thank you again for this great award.
Acceptance Speech by Danny YUNG (Arts and Culture Prize)
To promote development and understanding of diverse Asian culture, Fukuoka City has established the Fukuoka Prize 25 years ago. It has grown to a cultural brand and attracted the World’s attention and admi rat ion, and Fukuoka has become a role model for many cities.
In view of political tension between Japan and China, it is significantly important to boost bilateral cultural exchange and collaboration. Without cultural exchange, it is impossible to expect advancement. Therefore, establishing both mechanism and software for cultural exchange should become the basis for cultural study and development. The long-term goal is to establish think tank function and promote cultural creativity. And to that end, we need to learn the ways to promote the following; interactive collaboration between the government and its people, independent platform for creativity, initiative and proposal for research and development, and the inclusion of all Asia as a step to the whole world.
Three months ago, I participated in the World Cultural Forum held in Shanghai. Its focus was on culture as soft capital and how to use it to promote the world peace. The harvest of this forum was that China finally came to realize culture’s significant role in international exchange, and acknowledged Hong Kong to be China’s most important soft capital.
The pressing issue China is now facing is to release Hong Kong’s creative energy and maximize the readily available soft capital. I fervently hope for a closer cooperative relationship between Fukuoka and Hong Kong, and it becomes a model for the World’s cultural exchange and releasing soft capital for peace and prosperity.
Celebration Banquet 2014
Following the award ceremony, the celebration banquet was held, which was joined by the guests from other countries and interested parties from all quarters. Mr. SUEYOSHI commenced the banquet by wishing for creating new networks through many encounters. Next, Ms. Sally Wong, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Tokyo), toasted after greeting the attendees by saying “Hong Kong is where Oriental and Western cultures meet and therefore appreciates the value of cultural exchange, and from that perspective too, Fukuoka’ s approach is meaningful.” The laureates were then congratulated by the participants and enjoyed themselves in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, conversing and taking photos with the representatives of various fields.
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Official program reports
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