Children's Culture Award and Music Awards

Overview of Awards

The JXTG Children's Culture Award (established in 1966)

The JXTG Children's Culture Award is presented to individuals or groups who have made major contributions to the development and improvement of children's culture in Japan. The recipients are chosen from among those who have supported children's culture in a broad range of fields, including painters of pictures for children, educators, photographers, authors of children's literature, editors of children's newspapers, organizers of musicals and others active in related areas.

The establishment of this award dates back to 1963. That year, as a project to help commemorate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of then-operating Mobil Sekiyu, entries were solicited from the general public for original children's stories based on the theme of a red horse. A total of 3,461 works were submitted. Judging the entries was a panel consisting of the six renowned authors KAWABATA Yasunari, HATANO Isoko, TSUBOI Sakae, TSUBOTA Joji, FUJITA Tamao and TSUTSUI Keisuke, with "Juni Shoku no Kureyon" (‘Crayons of 12 colors') by FUKUNAGA Reizo selected for top honors. "Akauma Monogatari" (‘The red horse stories'), a book that included this special selection with other selections, was printed and donated to elementary schools around Japan. The volume received an enthusiastic response in the fields of both education and children's literature, to honor achievements in the field of children's literature and all other aspects of children's culture.

Past awardees, selected from various professions involved in children’s culture and encompassing everyone from nationally renowned personalities to those who conduct their activities on a local level.

The JXTG Music Awards (established in 1971)

The JXTG Music Awards are presented to individuals or groups who have made major contributions to the development and improvement of music culture in Japan. The awards consist of two divisions, the Japanese Traditional Music Division and the Western Classical Music Division. The Western Classical Music Division also includes a Promotion Division.

In the Japanese Traditional Music Division, candidates from a wide range of fields who have contributed to the development of Japanese traditional music, such as individuals and groups performing "gagaku", "no", "kyogen", "biwa" music, "shakuhachi" music, "sokyoku", various genres of "shamisen" music and "hayashi", as well as composers, researchers and critics have been selected for the award. Twenty-one of the awardees have been certified as Important Intangible Cultural Property holders (National Living Treasures).

In the Western Classical Music Division, awardees are selected from among those who have contributed to the development of Western music in Japan in the fields of composing, conducting and vocal music, the performance of piano, violin, cello and other Western musical instruments, and those active in music journalism, research, criticism and other areas. In 1989, the Promotion Division was established as part of the Western Classical Music Division to provide encouragement to promising young musicians.

Inclusion of categories for both Japanese traditional and Western classical music, as well as the fact that selections are made from the perspective of overall achievements to date rather than accomplishments during any single year, are unique features.

2018 Awardees of the JXTG Children's Culture Award and Music Awards

The 53rd JXTG Children's Culture Award
OKUMOTO Daisaburo (Author, Scholar of French literature)


Photo courtesy of Tomoko Shimabukuro

Mr. Okumoto was born in Osaka, Japan. He graduated from the Department of French Literature of the University of Tokyo and completed a graduate course there. He became involved in French literature research and education, and as a scholar of French literature specializing in research on Symbolist poets such as Baudelaire and Rimbaud, he has served as a professor at Osaka University of the Arts and as a professor emeritus at Saitama University. Keenly interested in insects since childhood, he served as president of the Japan Insect Association from 1991 to 2010, and as president of Japan’s Henri Fabre Institute and director of the Fabre Insectarium, also known as L’Oustal del Félibre di Tavan, since 2002. His major works include "Mushi no uchuki", "Tanoshiki nettai", "Hanmyo no yado", "Hoshi no oji-sama (Le Petit Prince)", "Sanpo no konchuki" and "Bokura no konchuki", and he has written and translated many other works about insects. Recently, he followed up his translation "Junia ban Faburu konchuki" with "Kan’yaku ban Faburu konchuki", which he published over the course of over ten years. He is currently publishing "Faburu sensei no konchu kyoshitsu" as a regular feature in the Asahi Shogakusei Shimbun.

Reason for the award

Mr. Okumoto, a scholar of French literature, has been fascinated by insects since he was a child. Last year, he executed a historic achievement with the completion of his magnum opus, "Kan’yaku ban Faburu konchuki", a 20-volume Japanese translation of Jean-Henri Fabre’s "Souvenirs entomologiques", which he had worked on for 30 years. During that time, he introduced children to the world of Fabre and the wondrous and intriguing biology of insects with the publication of the eight-volume "Junia ban Faburu konchuki" and other works. He also opened the Fabre Insectarium, serving as director and remaining closely involved in planning and management of the facility. Through these activities, he teaches children about the wonders of nature and the importance of the environment where insects live, as well as the fun of and need for scientific thinking. We present this award in recognition of his many brilliant achievements.

(Children’s Culture Award Selection Committee)

The 48th JXTG Music Award Japanese Traditional Music Division
KINEYA Katukuni ("nagauta syamisen (shamisen)")


Born in Hukuoka. Graduated from the Tokyo University of Arts. He started "nagauta" with KINEYA Zyutaro when he was six years old. Later he studied it with KINEYA Katusaburo VII. In 1955 he debuted at the Hukuoka Denki Hall by playing "Tamagawa". He received his artist name KINEYA Katukuni at the age of fourteen. Since he performed in the USA for the 75th anniversary concert of the Japan Society in 1982, he has frequently performed in Europe and America, including his solo concerts by the invitation of the Danish Government. For the first time in 1980 at the Asakusa kokaido, he achieved the role of leading "syamisen" in the performance of "kabuki" "Sagimusume" and "Tomoyakko". Since then, he continues to perform the leading "syamisen" for the "kabuki" dances by the late NAKAMURA Kanzaburo and BANDO Tamasaburo. His activity includes "kabuki" performances, radio and television broadcasting. He composed such new pieces as "Suehiro", "Momotidor Dozyozi" and "Sumidagawa". His performances are published in the form of CD and DVD in "Nagauta meikyoku zensyu" (‘Album of famous "nagauta" pieces’) and "Nihon buyokyoku dai zensyu" (‘Great album of Japanese dance pieces’). He is leading his own association Nagauta Kuninekai as well as the Kinekatukai Foundation as the chairperson of its board of directors.

Reason for the award

"Nagauta syamisen (shamisen)" player. Receiving from his young years an excellent guidance from Maestro KINEYA Katusaburo VII, he has acquired an outstanding musicality proper to the traditional repertoire of "nagauta". Currently, as the principal musician of "nagauta" in "kabuki" theatre, he performs "nagauta" with a magnificent style that the theatre demands. It should be added that his performing style has both diversity of sonority and delicateness of expression which result from his complete control of details. The combination of magnitude and delicacy in his style is well demonstrated in his performance of ≪Huna Benkei≫ and ≪Toragari≫, the representative great works composed by KINEYA Katusaburo II. He also shows his virtuosity in contemporary works for "nagauta syamisen". This committee highly evaluates Maestro KINEYA Katukuni’s leadership in "nagauta" and his great contribution to this music.

(Music Award - Japanese Traditional Music Selection Committee)

The 48th JXTG Music Award Western Classical Music Division
IKEBE Shin-ichiro (Composer)


©Tokyo Opera City
Photo courtesy of Akira Muto

Mr. Ikebe was born in Mito City, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, where he also completed his graduate studies. While there, he studied composition under Tomojiro Ikenouchi, Akio Yashiro and Akira Miyoshi. He enjoyed great popularity as emcee of the NHK television program "N-kyo hour" from 1996 to 2009. He currently serves in many capacities, including professor emeritus at Tokyo College of Music, advisor to the Japan Choral Association, director of Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall, music director of Tokyo Opera City, and director of classical music at Ishikawa Ongakudo. He has composed a multitude of works spanning a broad range, from orchestral, chamber and choral works, including "Symphonies Nos. 1–10", "Piano Concertos Nos. 1–3", cello concertos, and the operas "The Death Goddess", "Rokumeikan", and "The Sage of Mount Kohya", to scores for films such as "Kagemusha", "The Ballad of Narayama", "The Eel", "Spy Sorge" and "Mt. Tsurugidake", TV programs such as "Dokuganryu Masamune" and "Genroku Ryoran", and around 470 scores of theatrical music. He has also published several books, including "Sora o mitemasuka 1–8", "Mozart no onputachi", and "Orchestra no yomikata".

Reason for the award

Mr. Ikebe has enjoyed a brilliant career as one of Japan’s leading composers for over half a century, since winning first prize in the Music Competition of Japan in 1966 while still a student at Tokyo University of the Arts. In addition to composing, he has made tremendous contributions to the robust development of musical activities in Japan through endeavors such as the management of concert halls and related facilities, serving on the boards of music organizations, publishing essays and other written works, and engaging in media activities. In addition to his instrumental works, including 10 symphonies, his vocal works, especially his operas and choral works, are widely renowned. His constant pursuit of expression in social interaction enables him to access a broad range of expression, manifested by his adeptness for the serious and dramatic, his humorous flair, his profound lyricism and his keen insight into Japan’s modern history. We present this award in recognition of his illustrious accomplishments to date and in anticipation of his continued success in the future.

(Music Award - Western Classical Music Selection Committee)

The 48th JXTG Music Award Western Classical Music Promotion Division
OGURA Kikuko (Fortepiano)


Ms. Ogura was born in Iwate, Japan. She graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts and also completed graduate studies there. She furthered her studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, graduating with cum laude honors. She has performed in numerous programs presented by concert halls, as well as at music festivals and on NHK’s "Classic Club", "Pia no pia", "Meikyoku tantei Amadeus" and "La la la classic", and she also serves as an instructor on NHK’s "Culture radio geijutsu no miryoku - Mozart ga deatta ongakukatachi". Her recordings and concerts presented by the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments are also highly acclaimed. She has released over 40 CDs, many of which have been selected for recommendation or best disc by newspapers such as the Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun and magazines such as Record Geijutsu. Her written works include "Karaa zukai piano no rekishi" (Kawade Shobo Shinsha), and she has co-authored and supervised the development of numerous other works. She has served as a part-time instructor in the Tokyo University of the Arts Department of Early Music since 2004. She is the producer of Fortepiano Academy Sacla. She is currently engaged in performances for her "Mozart’s Clavier Room" concert series.

Reason for the award

Ms. Ogura is Japan’s premier clavierist. She is widely renowned for her performances on the fortepiano, a period instrument. Following the creation of unique concert series including "The Musical Treasure Box" and "Beethoven and His Women", she continues to give enchanting performances in her current series, "Mozart’s Clavier Room". Her other performance activities include solo works, chamber music, and concertos, spanning an extensive repertoire from baroque to modern works, and her recordings for the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments Collection Series are also highly acclaimed. In addition to "Les Rondos - la lumière de Mozart", issued in 2013, she has released over 40 CDs, deepening listeners’ appreciation for the world of the fortepiano through her graceful performances. We present Ms. Ogura with this award in recognition of her splendid accomplishments to date and in anticipation of even greater achievements in the future.

(Music Award - Western Classical Music Selection Committee)

Selection Committees

JXTG Children's Culture Award NOGAMI Akira Children's Culture Researcher
NAKAI Koji Broadcasting Consultant
Former Professor, University of the Sacred Heart
YAMAGIWA Juichi President, Kyoto University
JXTG Music Award - Japanese Traditional Music TOKUMARU Yosihiko Professor Emeritus of Ochanomizu University
Professor of Seitoku University
Visiting Professor of Kyoto City University of Arts
TSUKAHARA Yasuko Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts
KANO Mari Researcher of Japanese music
JXTG Music Award - Western Classical Music SEKINE Reiko Music Critic
NAKAMURA Takayoshi Chairman of the Board and Professor Emeritus, Osaka College of Music
MOROISHI Sachio Music Critic

List of Past Awardees

The 53rd JXTG Children's Culture Award and The 48th JXTG Music Awards have been selected for "This is MECENAT 2018" certification by the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts.

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