Award Citation

Mr. MIKI Minoru is a composer renowned not only in Japan but also throughout Asia, and his vast output, including the‘Operatic Cycle on Japanese History’has won international praise. While taking the lead in modernizing and globalizing Japanese music, he has made a significant contribution to promoting musical creativity and intercommunication between Japan and Asia and between the East and the West.

Based on his belief that Japanese culture has always possessed a universal character throughout history, and therefore has a value which deserves to be recognized internationally, he has been engaged, as his lifework, in composing a series of operas which are set in Japan. The most famous of all is the‘Operatic Cycle on Japanese History’(9 parts altogether) including Shunkin sho, which explore the characteristics of each period in Japanese history from the 5th to the 20th centuries. This series includes three works commissioned outside Japan, and is often performed to great acclaim.

In 1964, with his friends, he founded‘Pro Musica Nipponia’, which presented an entirely new style of musical performance with diverse Japanese musical instruments in concert. This created a great sensation both at home and abroad. Mr. Miki served as artistic director for 20 years at this organization, and produced many musical works. Moreover, in order to make the traditional koto (Japanese zither) more suitable to the expressiveness of modern music, he was involved in the invention of a‘20 stringed koto’which has been further developed into a 21 stringed koto called Niigoto (new koto). He produced more than 160 performances abroad.‘The Theory of Composing for Japanese Instruments’, a compilation of all the composition methodologies for Japanese musical instruments, originally written in Japanese, was translated and published in English and Chinese. The book made it possible for the first time to promote musical composition by using Japanese instruments both inside and outside Japan.

Mr. Miki is also a pioneer of a musical interchange between Japan, China and Korea. He founded the ‘Orchestra Asia’, the‘Asia Ensemble’, which both consist of the traditional instruments of Asian countries, and many other music performing groups. His initiatives created a new current in the Asian music world, one represented by his opera Ai-en, and opened a new path through which outstanding Asian musicians and composers can reach the global stage.

As a prolific artist, Mr. Miki has produced a vast numbers of unique music including the popular Marimba Spiritual which has been performed more than ten thousand times throughout the world. His most remarkable works include the ‘Eurasian Trilogy’which combines Eastern and Western orchestration, and the Memory of the Earth which uses a western orchestra together with Asian instruments. Both presented a magnificent world of music where musical instruments from the East and the West came together and mixed harmoniously. In 2006, Mr. Miki inaugurated the‘Hokuto International Music Festival’to provide an occasion for putting his grand idea into practice. He remains very active in his efforts to achieve a‘holy land of the East-West music interchange’.

The contribution of Mr. Miki through his efforts to put new life into traditional Japanese and Asian music, and through his initiatives towards a creative interchange between Japanese, Asian and Western music, is a most significant one. Therefore he is truly worthy of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.

Taking a curtain call with Conductor Kurt Masur at the world premiere of‘Symphony for Two Worlds’(1981)
Perfecting his score at home office (1991)
Tale of Genji, commissioned and world premiered by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, USA (2000)