Award Ceremony 2017

The Fukuoka Prize 2017 Award ceremony

Award ceremony
Thursday, September 21, 2017 (18:30-20:00)(Open/17:30)
ACROS Fukuoka Fukuoka Symphony Hall/1F

The 28th Fukuoka Prize Award Ceremony opened with a video introducing past laureates, followed by the beautiful harmonies of the Fukuoka City Children's Choir.

In the presence of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, the distinguished guests from Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam, representatives of various fields and many Fukuoka residents turned their eyes to the stage and greeted the laureates with loud applause as they appeared on the stage. The glamorous yet warm atmosphere was typical of Fukuoka, a city overflowing with hospitality, and befitted a prize that is bestowed by the people of Fukuoka.

Mr. TAKASHIMA Soichiro, Mayor of Fukuoka, addressed the audience on behalf of the organizers. He explained the significance and spirit of the Fukuoka Prize, and concluded with the hope that the Prize would serve to deepen exchanges among people of the Asian region and contribute to the promotion of culture, mutual understanding, and peace.

His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino expressed his sympathy to those affected by the recent torrential rainfall in northern Kyushu and offered his congratulations to the laureates. His address was followed by the Juror’s Statement by Professor KUBO Chiharu, Chair of the Fukuoka Prize Jury and President of Kyushu University. The laureates were then presented with their certificates and medals. The resounding applause from the audience dispelled the nerves of the laureates and their faces relaxed into beaming smiles. The laureates were also presented with bouquets by children from Fukuoka International School.

The second part of the proceedings began with a performance of the first movement of Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136 by the Kyudai Philharmonic Orchestra, which has a history stretching back more than 100 years. The laureates expressed their joy in their speeches, and Master KONG Nay performed a piece he had written especially for the occasion, called For the Award Ceremony in Fukuoka. Finally, Chikuzen biwa musician, Ms. TERADA Chobi, performed Heike MonogatariThe Tale of the HeikeNasu no Yoichi on the traditional Japanese string instrument that has its roots in Fukuoka. The splendor of the ceremony was befitting to such a celebratory occasion, one that could be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of language or disability.

Presentation of the prize
Presentation of the prize
Celebratory performance by Chikuzen biwa musician, TAKEDA Chobi
Celebratory performance by Chikuzen biwa musician, TAKEDA Chobi

Address by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino at the Fukuoka Prize 2017 Award Ceremony

address.jpgThe very first thing that I would like to say is that in July, this prefecture of Fukuoka was devastated by torrential rain that struck the northern part of Kyushu. I would like to express my deep sorrow for all those who lost their lives in the disaster, and my sincerest sympathy to the surviving victims of the disaster. Before this Award Ceremony of the Fukuoka Prize, I visited an affected area in Asakura City, and met some of the surviving victims. I fully realized a new the devastation, and it is my earnest hope that progress will be made in reconstruction and that the victims will once again live in peace and quiet.

It is a great pleasure for me to be with you all today at this Fukuoka Prize 2017 Award Ceremony, and I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the four distinguished laureates.

The advancement of globalization in recent years has brought the benefits of convenience to our lives in many ways. However, this has come to our notice as a currently prevailing uniform way of thinking and lifestyle pursuing the benefits of convenience. On the other hand, it has also led to a growing interest in the uniqueness and diversity of indigenous cultures of respective countries and regions, and a deeper appreciation of their importance. And while preserving and continuing to hand on indigenous cultures and traditions, many tireless efforts have been also dedicated to the creation of new culture.

Having travelled myself to various parts of Asia, mainly in Southeast Asia, my interests have been inspired by the depth and wealth of culture such as the distinctive history, language and folklore of Asia that has been created by its diverse climate and natural environment, and nurtured over a long period. I strongly feel that it is important to preserve and continue to hand on the depth and wealth of such cultural heritage.

It can be said that the Fukuoka Prize, marking its 28th anniversary this year, honors those of distinguished achievements in an extremely meaningful cause that respects the distinctive and diverse cultures of Asia handed down for a long time and contributes to their preservation and continuation, creates new culture, and promotes academic research on Asia. In this context, this Prize acknowledges, not just within Asia but also throughout the rest of the world, the significance of their outstanding achievements, which I believe will be also shared with the society as a whole to be handed on to future generations as a valuable asset of mankind

In closing my address, I would like to congratulate the distinguished laureates once again, and I hope that the Fukuoka Prize will continue to enhance the understanding of Asia and its respective regions, and further promote peace and friendship throughout the international community.

Acceptance Speech by Pasuk PHONGPAICHIT & Chris BAKER (Grand Prize)


Your Imperial Highnesses, Excellencies, distinguished guests, friends.

We are very proud to be awarded this wonderful prize ̶ proud because it is a mark of recognition, and especially proud because of what this prize stands for: it celebrates the great diversity among peoples; it is dedicated to peace; it encourages cultural exchange and pursuit of knowledge as means towards a world of peace, harmony, and social justice. These are aspirations that have motivated our own work.

We have had fruitful interactions with Japan. I [Pasuk] first came to Fukuoka in 1981, bringing a group of Thai officials to see Isson Ippin Undo (one village one product movement). We came to Kyushu together in 1999 as guests of the Japan Foundation. From that trip, we had contact with the Center of Southeast Asian Studies in Kyoto, and have been privileged to be visiting scholars there, and also at the University of Tokyo, and at GRIPS.

Quite separately, since 1992 we have been part of an informal group called the Japan-Thai Seminar which met every two years to exchange views in the same spirit that underlies this prize.

This is the first time that a Fukuoka Prize has been awarded to a couple. We are very, very proud of this. Somehow in our case, one plus one equals more than two. We have made something out of our differences-female and male, Thai and English, east and west, economics and history.

Today, with the world again seemingly at a point of change and great uncertainty, the aspirations underlying this prize are more important than ever. Thank you to the great city and people of Fukuoka for creating this wonderful prize, and for honoring us.

Acceptance Speech by WANG Ming (Academic Prize)


Your Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Mayor Takashima, members of the Fukuoka Prize Committee, distinguished guests. I am most honored to be awarded the distinction of the Fukuoka Prize. I am deeply grateful to the Selection Committee for this undeserved honor. Their decision to award this prize for research into China’s NGOs sends a clear message about the importance of this kind of practical research field. I would like to express my appreciation for that decision.

For the past dozen or more years, as China has followed a path of reform and openness, many NGOs have been established and are addressing a variety of social issues. Nineteen years ago, I returned to my country after studying abroad in Japan, and I have used the knowledge of fieldwork and governance research that I had acquired in Japan to engage in the research of China’s NGOs. To date, I have conducted a variety of studies and researches with many researchers and practitioners. I have engaged in social governance in numerous areas, including environmental protection, and have addressed the growth of civic society in China.

Kyushu and Fukuoka have long been hubs of exchange between Japan and China and they are the birthplace of the civic movement in Japan, particularly in the area of en vironmental protection. I visited Minamata on many occasions to learn from Japan’s experience. I believe that it is important for China today to have practical schools of research for protecting the environment, something like Minamata studies.

In the Analects of Confucius, the Master says,“ When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers.” Today, I have the good fortune to stand on this stage with my fellow recipients who have been awarded the Grand Prize and the Arts and Culture Prize. With these three wonderful people as my teachers, I hope to learn more about the cultures of not just Japan and China, but also those of Thailand and Cambodia, and to actively contribute in my own small way to cultural exchange and civic society in Asia. Thank you very much.

Acceptance Speech by KONG Nay (Arts and Culture Prize)


Your Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, organizers, distinguished guests, and the people of Fukuoka. My name is KONG Nay.

For many years, I have used the long-necked instrument called the chapey in Cambodia to perform chapey dang veng, a tradition of recitation to the accompaniment of music. For all those years, all I could think about was how to get more people to listen to this instrument. I was very surprised to receive such a wonderful prize, and I am also extremely happy. I feel a renewed appreciation for this opportunity to introduce so many people to this instrument and to the chapey dang veng tradition.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and my wishes for the health and happiness of you all.


---Prof.Pasuk, Dr.BAKER, Could you tell us the secret to your continuing to conduct research together as a married couple for so many years?
Dr.BAKER:On the day we first met, at a dinner party we started talking, and we went on talking to the point that our host felt asleep. We found we had common interests on research. I think we have been going on that way ever since.
Prof.Pasuk:We would like to see the change of the society and the world around us and ways that improve the wellbeing of the ordinary people. We respect each other very much. It's a new role of give and take.
---This year marks the 130th anniversary of Japan-Thailand diplomatic relations. What is needed for our two countries to build a good relationship?
Dr.BAKER:The Thai and the Japanese share many of same values, including those which come from Buddhism and those having very long history. There is a great affinity between these two countries and I think good diplomatic relations are simply a reflection of that affinity.
---What are Thailand's greatest charms?
Prof.Pasuk:Weakness is our strength. We may be very chaotic but we are exotic. We have passion, compassion, a strong feeling of gratitude, and a sense of fun. It is also a paradox. We have had so many crises but we have an ability to see the world and the future in a bright light all the time.
---Prof.WANG, What are your thoughts on the importance of NGOs?
Prof.WANG:In China, with the reform and openness policy and economic development, problems that cannot be resolved by the government or the market have started to emerge. NGOs have an element of supplementing the governmentand the market, and I think that they will be seen as increasingly important and necessary as a presence that can act beyond the interests of governments, local authorities, and individuals.
---Have your researches and experiences in Japan been useful in China?
Prof.WANG:This kind of forward-looking research is not something that I can do alone, so I learned how to cooperate with others while I was in Japan. NGOs do not only fight with governments, companies, and other organizations, they also have to act in cooperation with them. I think that the fact that I was able to learn about this kind of cooperativeness and social collaboration is very significant.
---Master KONG Nay, I understand that chapey dang veng is a musical tradition that is close to people's everyday lives, incorporating regular events, peoples emotions, lessons to be learned, and social satire. I have heard that, recently, you have been expanding your range with co-performances with other genres, such as rock, jazz, and orchestra. How do you think this musical tradition will develop in the future?
Master KONG Nay:In 2016, this music was inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. On top of this, I have made the people of Cambodia happy this year by being awarded this Fukuoka Prize. I am certain that, thanks to these events, many more people will become interested in chapey dang veng in the future.



Performance by the Arts and Culture Prize Laureate : Master KONG Nay

Master KONG Nay performed a piece he had written especially for the occasion, called For the Award Ceremony in Fukuoka.

Lyrics of the Chapey Dang Veng Recitation,"For the Award Ceremony in Fukuoka" Translated into Japanese by Tomoko FUKUTOMI (Part-time lecturer Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

  I, Kong Nay, Feel very happy For this good fortune to attend this event There is no joy like it

  At this wonderful award ceremony To receive this Wonderful prize from the people of Fukuoka

  For people with great works, People who think hard, That is, for people who have Moved forward in society with serious reflection

  The people of Fukuoka Grant prizes in three divisions The first for academic research, The second for arts and culture

  People with great works Are bestowed with this prize by Fukuoka Once a year, for arts and culture and academic research

  This year's award ceremony For everyone, young and old, man and woman The 28th time, precious and treasured for the world


Celebration Banquet

After the Award Ceremony, a celebration banquet was held, attended by distinguished guests from the various countries and representatives from various fields. Mr. ISOYAMA Seiji, Chair of the Fukuoka City International Foundation, declared the reception open by expressing the hope that everyone present would share in the joy of the Prize presentations and enjoy a heartwarming time. Next, Her Excellency Ms. CHEA Kimtha, Cambodian Ambassador to Japan, gave a speech on behalf of the distinguished guests, followed by a toast delivered by Mr. ISHIDA Masaaki, Vice Chairperson of Fukuoka City Council.

After these formalities, the celebration reception continued in a warm and friendly atmosphere, with the laureates and their partners surrounded by well-wishers.

Dr.Baker with Mr. Atsushi KORESAWA, Director of UN-HABITAT Fukuoka Office
Dr.Baker with Mr. Atsushi KORESAWA, Director of UN-HABITAT Fukuoka Office
Prof. WANG Ming with Prof. Satoshi AMAKO (Right)
Master Kong NAY with H.E.Ms.Chea KIMTHA, Cambodion Ambassador to Japan (Second left of the back row)

Download the Anuual Report 2017

You can download the annual report 2017 in Adobe PDF to check all the events and programs of the Fukuoka Prize 2017.

Download the Anuual Report 2017

Official program reports

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