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).
I have participated in the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa for more than 10 years. With each Festa, the children's works reveal a growing convergence of the global community. We see a common thread, for example, in how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed life at home and at school. The responses to COVID-19, as viewed by the children, gain visible expression in the artworks.
Children everywhere in Asia would seem to possess a spirit of prayerfulness toward the world around them. The Festa works present striking and frequently playful depictions of family life.
Two parallel trends are visible in the works. Evoking a virtual reality steeped in globalization are such media as television, movies, and manga. A powerful reality takes hold, however, in the children's attainment of a capacity for grasping through their own eyes.
The grand prix winner from Japan, for example, has painted the bantam that she is holding from a face-forward perspective. She has rendered the fowl not as she might have imagined one in her mind but as she saw it with her eyes. Her confidence in her gaze, together with the bold colors, has resulted in a wonderful work.
An important takeaway from the works overall is the children's energetic depiction of their local communities, even as they absorb global influences. We marvel at their renderings of such personal subjects as happenings around them and beloved animals. What we see in the works bodes well for the children's futures.
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 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 Festa was my third. We jurors were unable to gather for the previous Festa on account of COVID-19, so the opportunity to gather and judge the artworks together was exciting.
The works become more colorful and exhibit more skill with each Festa. I am amazed at the level of the educational guidance that the children appear to be receiving. Especially notable amid that upward trend in artistic attainment are the rich color palettes that the young artists are deploying.
Time and again, I found myself trying to determine exactly what color a young artist had employed. I was hugely impressed with how children so young could have used subtle intermediate colors so expressively. Among the thoughts that came to mind as I viewed the works intently were what sorts of art materials the children were using and whether art education in the different nations included the techniques of local traditional arts.
Something else that came to mind was what I perceive as an urbanization visible in the works. That would seem to be a reflection of the convergence of living standards. It is presumably also a reflection of the increased global interaction through the Internet occasioned by COVID-19.
Children's gaze today seems to be less outward than inward, focused on individual realms of life. That includes, of course, the information available to them through the Internet and other channels about the world outside. I sensed that trend repeatedly during my work on the national screening committee and on the international screening committee.
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.
Visual art and diaries by Asian children. Once again did they prove for me an edifying and stimulating experience. COVID-19 has been a trying ordeal for children, as well as for adults. Their individual responses, as portrayed convincingly in the illustrated diaries, have shone a light through the clouds of the pandemic. They exhibit a lust for life, a joy in nature, a love of family.
The numerous works are inspirational and were gratifying to judge. Even the works not chosen as grand prix winners imparted a wealth of learning and discovery. Strong in mind is a camel rendering from Mongolia. It differed from my notion and recollection of camels, but it was memorable as a beautiful, dreamy rendering.
The Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa is a marvelous window on the thoughts and lifestyles of children throughout Asia. I look forward to seeing children share their diverse lives through diverse offerings in this undertaking. And I am grateful for how this latest Festa invigorated my spirit anew.
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.”
The religious portrayals in the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa span Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Islamic traditions. They are a powerful reminder of Asia's diversity.
Allocating a first or second choice amid the multifarious works is a trying ordeal. The challenge has always been trying, but this time it was well-nigh impossible. That's because the overall level has risen so impressively. In the early years of the Festa, the works from less-developed nations betrayed their sources with timid coloration. Economic differentials were thus visible among fellow Asian nations, but the coloration has since become steadily more robust across works from all the participating nations. It evokes the development under way across Asia.
A distinguishing feature of this year's Festa works was the ubiquity of school closures occasioned by COVID-19 and the limitations on playing outside. That begged the question as to how the children passed their time, and the Festa works offered a heartwarming response.
I was happy to see how children confined to their homes spread the wings of their imaginations there. Meanwhile, I was surprised at the large number of children that enjoyed access at home to remote learning. I hadn't realized that digitization had made such progress in Asian nations. Japan was a disappointment in that regard.
Asia's diversity encompasses nations subject to political instability. The cheerfully optimistic illustrated diaries from the children are therefore all the more reassuring. They engender confidence in the futures of the children who did not yield to the pandemic.
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.
An impression that lingers from judging the Mitsubishi Asian Children's Enikki Festa is the diversity in traditions among nations. That begins with the illustrated diaries, which are a familiar tradition in Japan but apparently not in some other nations. Familiar or not, the illustrated diaries are a marvelous way for children to interact with counterparts in other nations - to share how they live and what is special to them in daily life.
The latest Festa was another opportunity to thrill to illustrated diaries from a diversity of children in diverse nations. We see at first a commonality in how children everywhere go to school, eat together, and go home. But then we discover the vast differences in lifestyles that arise from differences in such factors as traditions, climate, and values.
Taking part in judging the Festas has enabled me to view countless illustrated diaries by children in Asian nations. It has been an encouraging revelation as to the narrowing disparity in standards of living. And while evaluating the works, I found myself thinking of the progress in digital technology - of how that will spawn more chances for more children to learn more about each other's nations. That is a happy thought, indeed.
Understanding begins with learning - learning about other people's traditions, about their lifestyles, about their feelings. I thank the creators' of the magnificent illustrated diaries for a fantastic experience.