Award Ceremony 2018

The Fukuoka Prize 2018 Award ceremony

Award ceremony
Thursday, September 20, 2018 (18:30-20:00)(Open/18:00)
ACROS Fukuoka,  Fukuoka Symphony Hall/1F

The 29th Fukuoka Prize Award Ceremony opened with a video introducing past laureates, in the presence of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, distinguished guests from many nations, representatives of various fields, and Fukuoka residents.

The Symphony Hall was filled to capacity, and the audience greeted the laureates with loud applause as they appeared on the stage, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere perfectly suited to the award ceremony.

Mr. TAKASHIMA Soichiro, Mayor of Fukuoka City, addressed the audience on behalf of the organizers. He explained the significance and spirit of the Fukuoka Prize, introducing the more than one hundred past laureates and concluding 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 then 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 by Mayor TAKASHIMA and Mr. FUJINAGA Kenichi, Chair of the Fukuoka City International Foundation. The laureates were also presented with bouquets of flowers by children from Fukuoka International School, to resounding applause from the audience that brought smiles to their faces.

The second part of the proceedings began with a powerful rendition of Tsugaru Jongara-bushi by the Wakaba High School Tsugaru Shamisen Club. After acceptance speeches by the laureates, an interview was held, with laureates responding to questions from Fukuoka City residents submitted in advance. In closing, laureate Dr. Teejan Bai gave a performance of Pandavani, singing the climax of the battle scene from India's immortal saga, the Mahabharata. Performed to live music, it swept the audience into a superlative climax to the event.

Welcome remarks by Mayor TAKASHIMA
Welcome remarks by Mayor TAKASHIMA
Juror’s Statement by Professor KUBO, President of Kyushu University
Juror’s Statement by Professor KUBO, President of Kyushu University
Commemorative recital for the laureates by the Wakaba High School Tsugaru Shamisen Club
Commemorative recital for the laureates by the Wakaba High School Tsugaru Shamisen Club

Address by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino at the Fukuoka Prize 2018 Award Ceremony

address.jpgOn this auspicious occasion of the Fukuoka Prize 2018 Award Ceremony today, I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Jia Zhangke, laureate of the Grand Prize, Prof. Akira Suehiro, laureate of the Academic Prize, and Dr. Teejan Bai, laureate of the Arts and Culture Prize on receiving their awards.

The advancement of globalization in recent years has brought the benefits of convenience to our lives in many ways. However, it has come to our attention that uniform and standardized lifestyles and ways of thinking have spread in pursuit of convenience. As a result there is a growing perception of the importance of the uniqueness and diversity of indigenous cultures of individual countries and regions. This has led to the increasingly active creation of new culture.

Having frequently visited various parts of Asia, mainly in Southeast Asia, I have been intrigued by the depth and wealth of culture including the distinct history, languages, folklore, and arts of Asia that have been formed by its diverse climate and natural environment, and developed 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.

The “Fukuoka Prize”, which marks its 29th anniversary this year, can be regarded as a particularly meaningful prize that honors those with distinguished achievements in causes that respect the distinctive and diverse cultures of Asia that have been handed down for generations, and contribute to the preservation and continuation of Asian cultures, as well as to creating new cultures and promoting academic research on Asia.

In this context, this Prize acknowledges the significance of the outstanding achievements of the three laureates, not just within Asia but also throughout the rest of the world. I believe these achievements will be also shared with society as a whole and 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. I hope that the Fukuoka Prize will continue to enhance the understanding of the respective regions of Asia, and further promote peace and friendship throughout the international community.

Acceptance Speech by JIA Zhangke (Grand Prize)


Distinguished guests, it is indeed an honor for me to receive the Grand Prize here today. 2018 is exactly twenty years since I shot my first feature-length film, Xiao Wu 〔Pickpocket〕. This Prize is not only recognition for my film-making efforts of the last two decades, but also encouragement for my continuing work in the future.

Since my childhood, I have lived through the most tumultuous and farreching changes in Chinese society.

Through my involvement in film I have been fortunate enough to be able to portray the destinies of individuals caught up in this social upheaval, and the difficulties we have all faced. I believe that directors are emissaries, conveying the reality of humanity.

Culture helps us to better understand each other, and the arts help us retain our essential humanity. Here today I have received not only an honor, but also accepted your eager expectations for new works. I will continue to produce films, and hope that you will enjoy them.

Thank you.

Acceptance Speech by SUEHIRO Akira (Academic Prize)


I wish to express my sincere gratitude to your Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Mayor Takashima, members of the Fukuoka Prize Committee, and the citizens of Fukuoka. I am most honored to be awarded the distinction of the Fukuoka Prize.

Many exceptional artists and researchers have received this Prize in past years, and it is an honor for me to join their ranks. It is a special joy for me to be selected for an international Prize hosted by Fukuoka and not by the government of Japan. I was born in Tottori Prefecture, living there through high school, then living in Tokyo, Osaka, and other cities. In the afterword to one of my books, Catch-up Industrialization: The Trajectory and Prospects of Asian Economies, I wrote that the basis to my research into Asia had three key elements: Japan from its outlying regions, the nations of Asia from the outlying regions of Japan, and national economies from production sites. From these elements the new perspective of “catch-up industrialization” was born.

Japan was once the forerunner in Asia in industrialization and social modernization. In the coming years, other Asian nations will experience the problems of the aging society that Japan is experiencing now: in other words, we face common issues. Today, Japan is learning new technology and new lifestyles from China and other Asian nations, including electronic commerce and mobile transaction settlement.

I accept this Prize as a promise to myself to continue to probe, recognize, and clarify the changing realities and relationships of Japan and other Asian nations.

Thank you.

Acceptance Speech by Teejan Bai (Arts and Culture Prize)


I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Jury, the people of Fukuoka City, and the elderly and the young among you for this honor. I have been so thrilled and excited every day since my arrival here in Fukuoka that I am almost unable to sleep at night.

My daily life at home is focused on looking after children faced with severe hardship, and teaching them Pandavani.

As a child I also lacked the opportunity to obtain an education, and so now I try to provide such children with assistance in education, and in living as much as I can. The children were so delighted to hear that I had received this Prize, and receiving the Arts and Culture Prize has unmistakably given me fresh confidence. I will use this experience in my work in the hope that the children I teach will one day stand here themselves.

Thank you.


---Mr. JIA, What are your impressions of Fukuoka?
JIA Zhangke: I feel very strongly that Fukuoka is an integral part of Asia, and actively engaged in intercourse with all of Asia.
---Where do you think Chinese film is headed?
JIA Zhangke:The Chinese film industry is exhibiting phenomenal development, and is already the second-largest market in the world. About 800 films were produced in 2017, and I hope that the future will see increases in both quantity and quality.
---What do you feel is the most important element in film production?
JIA Zhangke: I always look at the people, and how to best capture them in film. My focus has always been on people, not things or events. That’s my own style, and I intend to continue to make films that examine how people feel and live as society changes around us.
---Prof. SUEHIRO, Have you always wanted to be a researcher?
SUEHIRO Akira:When I was in my second year of middle school I wrote a 100-page paper on the ecology of butterflies, and I think that’s when I decided what I wanted to be.
---What was your happiest experience as a researcher?
SUEHIRO Akira:The first time I visited Thailand, in June 1976. I arrived at the airport there at about 2:00 a.m., but even so there were about 20 of my former foreign students waiting for me. I’ll never forget all piling into the back of a truck for the ride into Bangkok.
---Any advice for young people?
SUEHIRO Akira:You can’t understand the world via the internet. Go to places, learn the language, eat the food, and combine what you experience yourself with what you learn from the internet as you interact with new people.
---Dr. Bai, You have faced so many hardships in your life. What gave you the motivation to continue music?
Teejan Bai:My own teacher was also denied a chance at education as a child, and gave me the courage I needed. It enabled me to achieve so much in my life.
---What effect will the Prize have on your life and art in the future?
Teejan Bai:I will never forget receiving the Fukuoka Prize. I am so happy to have been honored in this way, and that happiness materializes as the tears on my cheeks.



Performance by the Arts and Culture Prize Laureate Dr. Teejan Bai

In closing, laureate Dr. Teejan Bai gave a performance of Pandavani.

Teejan Bai / Pandavani performer
Keval PRASAD / Tabla 〔drum〕
Manharan Sarva / Dafli 〔tambourine〕
Ramchand NISHAD / vocals, Manjeera 〔cymbals〕
Chait Ram SAHU / Harmonium 〔a type of organ〕
Narottam NETAM / Dholak 〔double-headed drum〕


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. FUJINAGA Kenichi, Chair of the Fukuoka City International Foundation, declared the reception open by expressing the hope that the Fukuoka Prize would promote even warmer interaction between everyone present. Next, His Excellency Mr. SUN Zhongbao, Deputy Consul General, Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Fukuoka, 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 and music from a string quartet.

Mr. JIA Zhangke
Mr. JIA Zhangke
Prof. SUEHIRO Akira
Dr. Teejan Bai

Official program reports

Click to see more 2018 reports.