The 36th Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities Winner Announced

November 2014

On November 12, the 36th Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities (sponsored by the Suntory Foundation) announced that, in relation to art, HONDA Akiko (Research Fellow at the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University) was awarded the prize for her monograph, ‘Tenkai kenchiku ron: Reodonifu to Sorenpō no shijō kenchiku jidai (Astroarchitecture: Ivan Leonidov and Unrealized Architecture Projects in the USSR between 1920s – 1950s)’ (University of Tokyo Press) in the Literary and Art Criticism category. (Japanese)

Order of Culture and Person of Cultural Merit Recipients Announced

October 2014

On October 24, the Japanese government has announced seven recipients of the Order of Culture and 17 recipients of Person of Cultural Merit for the fiscal year 2014. In relation to art, NOMIYAMA Gyōji, yōga painter, was awarded the Order of Culture, and KUNITANI Kōji, another Western-style painter, as well as CHIBA Tetsuya, a manga artist, were awarded Person of Cultural Merit. (Japanese)

Report on National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties (structures) Designation Submitted

October 2014

On October 16, the Council for Cultural Affairs (Commissioner: MIYATA Ryōhei ) submitted a report on three buildings of the Tomioka Silk Mill (Tomioka City, Gunma Prefecture), included on the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June, which are to be designated as National Treasures as well as nine buildings which are to be designated as Important Cultural Properties to SHIMOMURA Hakubun, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The list of Important Cultural Properties designation includes Nagoya City Hall built in the early Shōwa era and the building of the Aichi Prefectural Government Office (both located in Nagoya City). The report also includes a request to select the Merchant quarter in Chikuma City, Nagano Prefecture, to be Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Building. (Japanese)

The 26th Annual Kokka Prize Winners Announced

October 2014

The winners of the 26 th Annual Kokka Prize, an award for remarkable research on Japanese and East Asian art, were announced. The Kokka Prize was given to a monograph titled ‘Chūsei byōbu-e kenkyū’ (Chūō kōron bijutsu shuppan, 2013) by IZUMI Mari (Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art) and another monograph titled ‘Nihon bijutsu ni okeru “sho” no zōkei shi’ (Kasama shoin, 2013) by KASASHIMA Tadayuki (Idemitsu Museum of Arts). The Kokka Encouragement Prize was given to an article titled ‘Myōe shōnin jujō zazenzu zō ni kansuru ichi kōsatsu’ (Bijutsushi, Vol. 175, 2013) by ITŌ Kumi (Tohoku University). The Kokka Exhibition Catalog Prize was given to an exhibition catalog titled ‘Toward the Modernity: Images of Self & Other in East Asian Art’ (Fukuoka Asian Art Museum et al., 2014) by RAWANCHAIKUL Toshiko (Fukuoka Asian Art Museum) et al. (Japanese)

Opening of the Ueda City Museum of Art

October 2014

On October 2, the Ueda City Museum of Art (Director: TAKIZAWA Masayuki) opened its doors in Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture. It succeeded the Yamamoto Kanae Memorial Museum, which honored YAMAMOTO Kanae, local yōga painter as well as print artist. Ueda Santomyuze where the museum is located as well as the Cultural and Art Exchange Center that also opened on the same day, was designed by YANAGISAWA Takahiko. The museum comprises special exhibition space (424 m2), permanent exhibition space (272 m2) as well as local residents atelier gallery, atelier and children atelier, where creative activities will take place and artworks by local residents will be exhibited. The inaugural exhibition titled ‘Retrospective of Kanae Yamamoto’s œuvre’ (October 2 – November 9) was held to celebrate its opening. (Japanese)

Exhibition ‘Hishida Shunsō: A Retrospective’ Opened

September 2014

On September 23, the exhibition titled ‘Hishida Shunsō: A Retrospective’ opened at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (until November 3). Commemorating the 140th anniversary of Hishida Shunsō’s birth, the exhibition consisted of 108 works of his artworks including his masterpieces of ‘Wang Zhaojun’, ‘Fallen Leaves’ and ‘Black Cat’. Research outcomes during the preparation period, such as scientific analysis of color materials and reconsideration of production dates for each work with assistance of newly discovered research materials, were reflected in the exhibition itself. (Japanese)

Opening of Heisei Chishinkan Wing at the Kyoto National Museum

September 2014

On September 13, Heisei Chishinkan Wing at the Kyoto National Museum opened its doors. Designed by TANIGUCHI Yoshio, it replaced the permanent exhibition building constructed in 1965. the building consists of four above ground stories and two below ground, which provide 3,600 m2 of exhibition space in total. The inaugural exhibition titled ‘Kyoto: Splendors of the Ancient Capital’ (September 13 – November 16) was held to celebrate its opening, which was composed of two installments: the first was titled ‘Portraiture’ and the second was titled ‘Momoyama: The Age of Hideyoshi’. (Japanese)

Removal of Artwork by TAKANO Ryūdai Adjured

August 2014

On August 11, part of a photographic artwork by TAKANO Ryūdai at the exhibition titled ‘Photography Will Be’ held at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art (August 1 – September 28) was classified as obscene and the artwork as ordered to be removed by the Aichi Prefectural Police. An anonymous tip to the Aichi Prefectural Police pointed out that male genitals were photographed in the artwork. Although the museum had already segregated the artwork and displayed notices, the exhibition continued with part of the photograph being covered with cloth-like material, which prompted a heated debate about freedom of expression at museums. (Japanese)

Yokohama Triennale 2014 Opened

August 2014

Welcoming the artist MORIMURA Yasumasa as Artistic Director, the fifth Yokohama Triennale was held from August 1 to November 3 at the Yokohama Museum of Art and Shinko Pier Exhibition Hall as its main venues. Titled ‘Art Fahrenheit 451: Sailing into the sea of oblivion’, 79 artists participated. With the concept of the picking up abandoned objects, people as well as places in modern society where wealth and information are unevenly distributed, the Yokohama Triennale raised questions about the current situation where the nation bristled with international exhibitions. (Japanese)

Final Reform Proposal for the Nitten Announced

July 2014

On July 29, the Nitten announced the final reform proposal of its organization, a panel of judges and judgement, and exhibition management after the previous year’s revelation of organizational corruption that led to a number of prizes in the Calligraphy section being distributed to dominant groups in advance. Impartial judgements, such as the introduction of external judges and recording the whole process of judging, were indicated and the title of the Nitten exhibition in the fiscal year 2014 would be renamed ‘the First Reorganized New Nitten’. (Japanese)

National Task Force for the Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network Established

July 2014

On July 23, the National Institute for Cultural Heritage established the National Task Force for the Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network (CH-DRM Network). Based on experiences such as the Cultural Property Rescue Program at the Great East Japan Earthquake, it builds up a network concerned with disaster prevention of cultural properties, fosters human resources and collects and analyzes information in order to secure the rescue and relief system for the cultural properties in large-scale disasters. The First Executive Committee of the National Task Force for CH-DRM Network was planned to be held at the Tokyo National Museum on October 21 in order to ask the participating organizations to establish networks and to share common understanding of its future activities. (Japanese)

Report on Registered Tangible Cultural Properties Designation Submitted

July 2014

On July 18, the Council for Cultural Affairs (Commissioner: MIYATA Ryōhei) submitted a report on 166 structures to be designated as Registered Tangible Cultural Properties to SHIMOMURA Hakubun, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The list includes the Kobe Port Tower, completed in 1963, which is a sightseeing tower attracting popularity as a symbol of the port city of Kobe. (Japanese)

Report on Living National Treasures Designation Submitted

July 2014

On July 18, the Council for Cultural Affairs (Commissioner: MIYATA Ryōhei) submitted a report on seven people to be designated as Important Intangible Cultural Properties (Living National Treasures) to SHIMOMURA Hakubun, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The list includes IMAIZUMI Imaemon XIV, HON’AMI Kōshū, YAMAMOTO Akira and SUDA Kenji. IMAIZUMI Imaemon XIV broke new ground by adding new techniques such as developing a technique of applying platinum enamel onto traditional Iro-Nabeshima porcelain (porcelain with multi-colored overglazed enamel). HON’AMI Kōshū acquired traditional techniques that had been handed down in the HON’AMI family, the official sword appraisers and polishers of successive shogunates from the Muromachi period. He has polished swords designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. YAMAMOTO Akira has been highly recognized for his modern style metalwork skillfully made with a heat welding method with a cut-out inlay. SUDA Kenji is a master woodworker who creates his original style maximizing the material’s natural colors by employing a sophisticated ‘sashimono’ technique, the Japanese traditional woodworking joints technique to create boxes and furniture. (Japanese)

The 26th Praemium Imperiale Laureates Announced

July 2014

On July 16, the laureates of the 26th Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu (organized by the Japan Art Association), which publicly honors individual world artists, were announced. In relation to art, the laureates are Martial Raysse (France) in the Painting category, Giuseppe Penone (Italy) in the Sculpture category and Steven Holl (America) in the Architecture category. (Japanese)

The 9th Western Art Foundation Prize Winners Announced

July 2014

On July 9, the winners of the 9th Western Art Foundation Prize, which publicly honor individuals and institutions involved in curating exhibitions that have contributed to the understanding of Western art and academic research in the field of Western art, were announced. The Academic Prizes for individuals were awarded to MAKIGUCHI Chinatsu, Researcher at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (for the exhibition ‘Reading Cinema, Finding Words: Art after Marcel Broodthaers’) and MORIZONO Atsushi, Curator at the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum (for the exhibition ‘Antonio López’). The Cultural Promotion Prizes for institutions were given to Aichi Triennale 2013 as well as NEC Display Solutions that had recently been supporting many exhibitions with their video installations in Japan by supplying equipment and providing technical support. (Japanese)

109 Items of National Treasure and Important Cultural Properties Missing

July 2014

On July 4, the Agency for Cultural Affairs announced that 109 items of fine art designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties had gone missing, including a tantō (short sword) signed by Kunimitsu, a National Treasure. Among those, 33 items had been stolen and some were cases there their current owners could not be traced due to changing their address or their death. The Agency for Cultural Affairs announced their new policies that would be implemented from the fiscal year 2015, which includes sending the owners of those items a postcard or mail to check their current status once a year and examining the items themselves in cooperation with each prefectural Board of Education every four years from the fiscal year 2015. (Japanese)

Decision on Tomioka Silk Mill to be a World Heritage Site

June 2014

On April 25, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that primarily judges whether to register sites on the World Heritage List, advised the addition of the Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites (Gunma Prefecture), which had been recommended by the Japanese government at the sites played an important role in the growth of silk industry around the world. Responding to the advice, the 38th World Heritage Committee, held in Doha, Qatar, on June 21, decided to register the Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites in the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site. (Japanese)

Report on Places of Scenic Beauty and Historic Sites Designation Submitted

June 2014

On June 20, the Council for Cultural Affairs (Commissioner: MIYATA Ryōhei) submitted a report on the following places to be designated as Places of Scenic Beauty or Historic Sites to SHIMOMURA Hakubun, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The list includes five places, such as the Honbō gardens at Tōfukuji temple (Kyoto), to be appointed as Places of Scenic Beauty; nine places, such as Takashima Coal Mine Sites including Hashima Island also known as Gunkanjima (Nagasaki City), to be appointed as Historic Sites; six places, such as the Imai Family garden (Nagano City), to be registered as Registered Monuments; and Lakefront village landscape of Sugaura located in the northernmost of Lake Biwa (Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture) to be selected as Important Cultural Landscape. Takashima Coal Mine Sites had already been a part of ‘Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining’ that the Japanese government endorsed to be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. The Japanese government had already prepared to classify the sites as Historic Sites under state care before the UNESCO advisory committee conducted its field investigation. (Japanese)

Special Exhibition ‘Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei’ Opened

June 2014

On June 24, a special exhibition titled ‘Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei’ opened at the Tokyo National Museum (until September 15). It was the first ever exhibition that introduced a collection from the National Palace Museum in Taipei on a full scale. Selections of masterpieces of painting, calligraphy, varieties of vessels and literature were exhibited. The exhibition toured to the Kyushu National Museum (October 7 – November 30). (Japanese)

Selections of the Japan Art Academy Prize Suspended

May 2014

On May 21, the Japan Art Academy (Director: MIURA Shumon) announced the recipients of the 70th Japan Art Academy Prize though the selection in the Fine Arts category was deferred. The selection results were only made in the categories of Literature as well as Music, Drama and Dance. This was due to concern surrounding the reform of Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition) after their past corrupt judgements were revealed in 2013. The voting was deferred at the behest of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The situation among others created considerable difficulties of selection in the Fine Arts category. (Japanese)

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