The Jury of the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa
Born in Miyagi, in 1946. A Oil painter, Professor emeritus of Tokyo University of the Arts and President of the Tohoku Seikatsu Bunka University.
Graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1970 and completed his masters in Oil Painting in the Department of Painting of the Graduate School of Tokyo University of the Arts in 1972. After completing a term as a research student at the same university in 1973, Mr. Sato enrolled as an exchange student (DAAD) at Hamburg Art University in Germany. He became an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts in 1981 after returning to Japan, and in 1986 he became an Associate Professor at the same university. In 1995, he served as a Monbusho-sponsored Japanese Overseas Research Fellow at Vienna Art University in the Restoration subject. From 1999 to 2014, he was professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts. From 2014 to 2019, he was a full-time professor at the graduate school of the Kanazawa College of Art, and he is currently serving as the President of the Tohoku Seikatsu Bunka University. His works include “Toshi Shozo no Zu” (Portrait in Perspective), “Choshokuban to Dennetsuki” (Palette and Heater), “Aoba” (Green Leaves), “Nachi no Otaki” (Great Fall of Nachi), and “Zao Okama” (Lake Okama in Zao).
The world has long since become a global society where people interact through economic, political, lifestyle, and cultural dynamics that transcend national borders. People around the world are increasingly dependent on one another as citizens of that global community.
Delivering an acute reminder of our global interaction has been the Covid-19 pandemic. The disease, spreading from Asia to Europe and to the Americas, has become a bane of the entire world. It is a challenge that obliges us to join hands in fighting it together.
The pandemic disrupted even our judging for this edition of the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa. It obliged us to dispense with the traditional gathering of jurors for making the penultimate selections. We needed to resort to judging the works through online connections. Fortunately, Meo Saito, the assistant head of the jury, and I were able to view works in person in early June and make the final selections.
I continue to be amazed at the vital force that the young artists unleash through color and form. Equally stunning is the forthright stance exhibited by some of the artists in the face of threats to life. “The number of people infected with Covid-19,” wrote an artist from the Republic of Korea, “has reached 1,261.” Accompanying the text is an illustration rendered on a background of black tones. The effect is gripping.
Something painfully clear in the illustrated diaries by Asian children is that global digitization has penetrated every corner of the region. Also clear, however, is that each nation has retained traditional heritage in customs and culture. We see reassuring instances of children demonstrating a sound commitment to nurturing their communities.
Thus do the children reside simultaneously in global society and in local communities. They express that dichotomy through the illustrated diaries. And through their expressive output, they grasp their aspirations and potential. They offer hope for a bright future in the global society of their adulthood.
Born in Tokyo in 1973. A painter.
Graduated from the Department of Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts at the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1996, majoring in oil painting, and completed her masters at the university's Graduate School in 2001. Ms. Saito is currently associate professor of oil painting at the Department of Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts.
Ms. Saito composes finely detailed paintings of scenes witnessed in the course of her travels, in images that mix fact and fiction. They are notable for entering the realm of literary works with poetic phrases arranged alongside the paintings. Ms. Saito's major exhibitions include “Katamuku Koya - Bijutsukatachi no Shogen since 9.11 (Slanting House / Statements by the Artists in Japan since 9.11)” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, in 2002; “Aatisuto Fairu 2009: Gendai no Sakkatachi (Artist File 2009: The NACT Annual Show of Contemporary Art)” at the National Art Center, Tokyo, in 2009; and “Heisei 28 Aki no Yurin-so Tokubetsu Kokai – Mitsuai Mura (Villa Yurinso Special Open Fall 2016 - Immorale Ville).” Ms. Saito received the Ohara Museum Prize and Excellence Award at VOCA 2010. Her major literary works include “Adabana Zukan (Picture book of blossoms that bear no fruit)” (Geijutsu Shinbunsha) and “Yojohan Mikuji (The four-and-a-half tatami mat paper fortune)” (Geijutsu Shinbunsha).
This was my second experience in judging works submitted for the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa. As an overall impression, I sensed an increased boldness in the application of color. Children in each of the participating nations appear to be gaining increased access to art materials.
In the works for this Festa, the children brought different approaches to the subjects that captured their attention. We encountered several works where the young artists employed elements of traditional folkcraft in monotonal renderings. We also encountered works of astonishing detail and works where the artists used the text as a graphic element. Adults tend to want children to enjoy carefree lives and to not obsess with minutiae. But children have an inherent preoccupation with detail and sometimes bring intense concentration to the act of artistic expression.
Concern about Covid-19 appears in several of the illustrated diaries, which the children created amid the global pandemic. Keeping a diary is a way for children to come face to face with themselves and to examine the kind of life they want to lead. Writing honestly about things that cause sadness or unease can be a step toward building happier tomorrows. So I hope that the children will make the most of the experience of creating illustrated diaries. I pray that they will discover through their diaries the consummate value of daily occurrences and emotional responses.
Originally from Tokyo. A Photo Journalist.
After finishing Department of Photography, College of Art, Nihon University, Ms. Ohishi has been photographing and writing about people who courageously move on with their life despite devastating and unreasonable experiences inflicted by wars and riots. She was awarded prizes by Japan Congress of Journalists, Nihon Chimei Kenkyujo, and the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan for “Kanbojia kugai tensho (Cambodia: Reincarnation through hardship)” in 1994, followed by the Domon Ken Award (2001) for “Betonamu rin to (Living proudly in Vietnam)”as well as the Avon Award (2007) and the Medal with Purple Ribbon (2007) for her long-running contributions. Ms. Oishi was awarded the 2013 JCJ Award (Japan Congress of Journalists) for “FUKUSHIMA Tsuchi to ikiru (Living with soil in Fukushima).”
Ms. Ohishi has published many photography books, including “Papua-jin (Papuan in highland New Guinea),” “Wani no tami: Meraneshia geijutsu no hitobito (Crocodile people supporting Melanesian art),” “Okinawa ni ikiru (Living in Okinawa),” “Yoru to kiri wa ima (“How are they now?” visiting the people survived from the concentration camps),” “Hiroshima hanseki no shozo (Hiroshima: History of a half century),” “Okinawa wakanatsu no kioku (Okinawa: Remembrance of early summer),” “Inochi no ki (Trees of life),” “Kosobo hakai no hate ni (Kosovo: The destruction),” “Afuganisutan senka o ikinuku (Surviving from devastation in Afghanistan),” “Kosobo zetsubo no fuchi kara asu e (Kosovo: From desperation toward hope),” “Kodomo ikusayo no naka de (Children living through wars),” “Fuhatsudan to ikiru: Inori o oru Raosu (Laos: Living with unexploded bombs),” “Kurokawa-no no sato: Shonai ni idakarete (Kurokawa Noh: Embraced by Shonai),” “Soredemo emi o (Smiling even in predicament),” and “Senso wa Owattemo Owaranai (War is not over even when it ends)”, and as of March 2019 “Senka no Kioku (Ravages of War)” and “Nagasaki no kizuato(The Scars of Nagasaki)” have also been published.
Judging the powerful illustrated diaries submitted by Asian children in the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa is always inspiring, and this edition of the Festa was no exception. Each young artist conveys through text, as well as through drawing or painting, acute daily observations and perceptions of their personal and family life, their neighborhood and community, the natural environment, and other facets of their surroundings.
The works from nations that I have visited are frequently pleasant reminders of what I have seen in person, while the works from places where I have never been are rich in stimulating discoveries. I learn a lot through these illustrated diaries, which always reveal new perspectives on the world.
What the young artists present across five diary entries is a compelling expression of their thoughts and feelings. All of them are coming to terms impressively with who and what they are. That is all the more reason to look forward to what they will become as they grow.
In judging the works, I disregarded the materials used, since the availability of art materials varies by nation and region. The differences in materials are, if anything, a welcome reaffirmation of Asia's diversity. We enjoy different vantages on the vastness of Asia through the renderings in colored pencils, crayons, pastels, watercolors, or whatever. Imposing a uniformity of materials would result in monotony of tone and texture.
Diversity and individuality are the essence of the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa. So let us encourage the children to give full vent to their imaginations. I remain grateful for the opportunity to witness the unfolding of their creative possibilities.
Born in Nagano Prefecture in 1950. A journalist and also serves as Professor for Meijo University.
After joining NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) in 1973, Mr. Ikegami worked as a reporter and a newscaster. In NHK's “Shukan kodomo nyu-su (News for kids weekly),” where he appeared in the role of father from 1994 to March 2005, After leaving NHK in March 2005, he is currently working as a freelance journalist.
Mr. Ikegami serves concurrently in roles that include special professor at Tokyo Institute for Technology, visiting lecturer at Rikkyo University, and special professor at Shinshu University. He is a prolific author whose works include “Tsutaeru Chikara” (Communication capability),” “Ikegami Akira no Yasashii Keizaigaku (Akira Ikegami's easy economics),” “Shiranai to Haji wo Kaku Sekai no Daimondai (Major world problems that are embarrassing not to know about)” and the “Soudattanoka (Now I got to know…) series.”
Judging the submissions to the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa is fun but trying work. All of the children's works overflow with an appealing vitality, and ranking them is arduous. Each of the works that we judge has emerged from the local screening in the artist's nation, and each is superb in its own way.
Something that I have sensed through multiple editions of the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa is an evolving tone in the works. The evolution is especially pronounced in the increasingly brighter colors of the works from the less economically developed nations. Subdued colors formerly prevailed in the works from those nations, presumably because of limited access to art materials. But the subdued colors have given way in a growing number of works to brilliant colors. That trend is evidence of the progress that the nations are making in economic development.
The works are windows, too, on the religious orientation of the different nations. They remind us of Asia's spiritual diversity through their portrayals of Buddhist, Islamic, and other religious customs.
Our judging for this Festa took place amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the pandemic prevented us from hosting interchange in Japan among the Grand Prix winners. Let us look forward to the earliest possible resumption of interchange among the young artists of Asia.
Born in Osaka Prefecture, in 1948. A Manga Artist, and Professor of the Character Creative Arts Department of Osaka University of Arts.
As a high school student, Ms. Satonaka was awarded the first Kodansha New Cartoonist Award for “Pia no Shouzou” (Pia's portrait). She went on to publish works appealing to child and adult audiences, and dealing with a wide range of topics. For over 50 years she has illustrated more than 500 titles.
Awards include the Lifetime Works and Cultural Activities award from the Japan Ministry of Culture and Science in 2006, the commendation of the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs in 2010, the Kojiki Grand Prize Ono Yasumaro Award for Manga Classical Literature – Kojiki (An Account of Ancient Matters) in 2013, and the Foreign Minister's Commendation for FY2014, and the 2018 Agency of Cultural Affairs 50th Anniversary Award.
Ms. Satonaka has created a number of successful works including “Ariesu no Otometachi” (Maidens of Aries), “Umi no Oorora” (Aurora at the ocean), “Asunarozaka” (Asunaro Hill), “Aijintachi” (Lovers), “Jotei no Shuki” (Diary of the Empress), “Girisha Shinwa” (Greek Legends), “Kyuyaku Seisho” (Old Testament), “Kojiki” and “Tenjou no Niji” (Celestial Rainbow).
In addition to authoring books, she contributes in a range of other areas including as a board chairperson of the Japan Cartoonists Association, head of the Manga Japan foundation, representative of the Asia Manga Summit Administering Authority NPO, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan International MANGA Award selection committee chairperson.
The lives of the children in different Asian nations reflect a diversity of customs and cultural traits. Asian nations present a broad range of economic disparity, and children's pastimes reflect that disparity. They share, however, the same fundamental experience of joy and fulfillment.
Reading through the children's illustrated diaries imparted a reminder of our responsibility as adults: to ensure that those children can live in a world of lasting peace. As for the children, the works submitted by other young artists are an introduction to lifestyles and values different from their own. Thus is the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa a valuable initiative for broadening everyone's worldview.