TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award and Music Awards

Commemorative Performances for TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award and Music Awards

The TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award and the TonenGeneral Music Awards were established for the purpose of recognizing outstanding individuals or groups who have contributed to the development and prosperity of children’s culture and music culture in Japan. 2017 marks the 52nd consecutive year of the TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award and the 47th consecutive year of the TonenGeneral Music Awards.

The TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award and the TonenGeneral Music Awards have been selected for “This is MECENAT 2016” certification by the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts. This is the second consecutive year that the TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award has received “This is MECENAT” certification, and the first time for the TonenGeneral Music Awards.
The TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award also received the “Half-century of Giving Dreams to Children” Award for Excellence in the 2016 Japan Mécénat Awards.

MECENAT AWARDS 2016
Mecenat Awards ceremony.

Overview of Awards

TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award (established in 1966)

The TonenGeneral 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 screening process is conducted every year, and each awardee (individual or group) is presented with a trophy and a monetary award of two million yen. 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 Jôji, FUJITA Tamao and TSUTSUI Keisuke, with Jûni Shoku no Kureyon (‘Crayons of 12 colors’) by FUKUNAGA Reizô 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, leading to the establishment in 1966 of the Mobil Children’s Culture Award, the forerunner of the current award, to honor achievements in the field of children’s literature and all other aspects of children’s culture.

TonenGeneral Music Awards (established in 1971)

The TonenGeneral 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. The screening process is conducted every year, and each awardee (individual or group) is presented with a trophy and a monetary award of two million yen.

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, nô, kyôgen , biwa music, shakuhachi music, sôkyoku , various genres of shamisen music, 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 the accomplishments during any single year, are unique features of the TonenGeneral Music Awards.

TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award and Music Awards logo (created by Taro Gomi)

2016 Awardees of the TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award and Music Awards

The 51th
TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award

AMAN KimikoAuthor of children’s literature

Ms. Aman was born in the former Manchuria in 1931. She got married after graduating from Sakurazaka High School in Osaka. After the birth of her second child, she entered Japan Women’s University, Faculty of Human Sciences and Design, Child Studies Department, taking correspondence courses. While a student at the university, she met Junichi Yoda. She submitted the story Kuma Shinshi to Joji Tsubota’s magazine Biwa no mi gakko, and the story was accepted for the magazine’s thirteenth issue. She subsequently published Kuruma no iro wa sora no iro (Poplar Publishing Co., Ltd.), a collection of stories submitted to Biwa no mi gakko, for which she was awarded the Newcomer Prize from the Japan Association of Writers for Children and the Noma Prize for Children’s Literature - Honor Book. Since then, she has concentrated on writing, continuing to be a frequent contributor to Biwa no mi gakko and publishing a number of works including Kogane no fune (Poplar Publishing Co., Ltd.), Chii-chan no kage okuri (Akane Shobo), Ponponyama no tsuki (Bunken Shuppan), Okko-chan to tantan usagi (Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers, Inc.), Daare mo inai? (Kodansha), Yuhi no shizuku (Komine Shoten), Nakanaide, nakanaide (Hisakata Child), and Toriyome (Poplar Publishing Co., Ltd.).

Since winning the Newcomer Prize from the Japan Association of Writers for Children with her first work, Kuruma no iro wa sora no iro, in 1968, Ms. Aman has written a great number of wonderful works of literature for young children, including Okko-chan to tantan usagi (Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers, Inc.) and many others. Her picture books as well, including Onita no boshi (Onita’s Hat) and Chii-chan no kage okuri, a collection of stories, awarded the Shogakukan Literature Prize, that makes the misery of war understandable even for young children, have been widely read for many years. With Kogane no fune, Nanatsu no poketto and other fantasy short story collections that evoke the wonder of nature and humankind and touch on many themes including life and death, and other works such as the five-volume Aman Kimiko dowashu, she enjoys a deep affinity with a great many readers, and is one of the leading authors of modern children’s literature in Japan.

(Children’s Culture Award Selection Committee)

The 46th
TonenGeneral Music Award Japanese Traditional Music Division

KINEYA Yosimarunagauta performer and researcher

Born in Akasaka, Tôkyô in 1930 to KINEYA Wakizirô, syamisen (shamisen) player of nagauta. Mr. KINEYA Yosimaru made his stage début at the age of five by singing a nagauta piece《Otukisama》(‘Moon’). In 1949, he began training of nagauta under YOSIZUMI Kosahati (later HIYOSI Kosahati). In 1952 he was accredited with stage name of YOSIZUMI Kosuke. In addition to nagauta, he began to learn ogie-busi (a genre of syamisen music) with the late OGIE Royû in 1952 and was given his stage name of OGIE Roen in 1954. As the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) inaugurated a special training course for professionals of traditional music in 1955, he entered there as a member of its first graduating class and formed a performing group Kayôkai with his classmates. In 1958 he made a concert tour in China with HANAYAGI Tokubei (Japanese dance). With the recommendation of YOSIMURA Ikusaburô, he joined in Nagauta kyôkai (Association of nagauta musicians) and exerted every possible effort to heighten the status of this association to that of corporate juridical person. In 1961 he changed his stage name into KINEYA Yosimaru II. In 1980 he performed in the world festival of traditional music held in Istanbul, Turkey. Academically, since 1993 he has been active as a board member of Geinô gakkai (Society for research in performing arts). Along with his activity as nagauta vocalist, he collected many important nagauta pieces, that had become esoteric and obsolete, from such masters of various nagauta schools as KINEYA Eizi, HIYOSI Kosahati and KINEYA Rokutarô. He compiled these pieces in the form of audio-recording and notation. Recently he edited 250 pieces from his enormous collection and donated them to the Archives of the National Theatre of Japan.

Maestro KINEYA Yosimaru is widely known as the walking dictionary of nagauta, a genre of syamisen (shamisen) music related to kabuki theatre. He is active as one of the representative performers notwithstanding his age. At the same time he is extremely active as a performing researcher of nagauta. He is guiding two research groups: the first one for discovering the esoteric repertoire of nagauta; and the second one for examining printed nagauta song texts published in the Edo period. In addition, he is transmitting his knowledge and interpretation to younger performers in the group organized for performing the traditional repertoire of nagauta. Through these activities he has succeeded in discovering and reconstructing nagauta pieces of which performing tradition was lost. KINEYA Yosimaru has published several books on nagauta by compiling oral histories of elderly musicians and his research results. These books are extensively used by professional musicians and audience as vademecum. His long effort at connecting research and performance has stimulated performers and researchers. The committee highly evaluates his effort and result as a great contribution towards Japanese music in general.

(Music Award - Japanese Traditional Music Selection Committee)

The 46th
TonenGeneral Music Award Western Classical Music Division

INOUE MichiyoshiConductor

Mr. Inoue was born in Tokyo in 1946 and studied at the Toho Gakuen School of Music. In 1971 he won the Guido Cantelli Conducting Competition. He has served as Principal Guest Conductor with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, and Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra. In 1999, he initiated a ten-concert Mahler series, which received the highest critical acclaim as “the highest level of Mahler performance ever to be heard in Japan”. He planned the Russian-Japanese Friendship Shostakovich Complete Series Project in 2007 and the Japan tour of the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra in 2013, which were tremendous successes, both musically and in terms of execution. In 2010, he received the Cultural Merit Award from the city of Kyoto and the Sound Hospitality Award from the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts. In 2007, he became Music Director of Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa and Artistic Advisor of Ishikawa Ongakudo. He is deeply involved in a number of experimental projects, including the music festival La Folle Journee de Kanazawa. In April 2014, he became the principal conductor of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra. He fell ill just after his inaugural performance in that capacity, but returned to concert performance activities in October of that year.
He used to have a pet duck.

Mr. Inoue achieved international success at a young age, and since then he has been a celebrated figure in the music world, both in Japan and abroad. He currently serves in dual capacities as music director of Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa and principal conductor of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra. His continued pursuit of musical activities and achievement of even further success after having recovered from throat cancer is one of the most remarkable aspects of his career. In addition to his innovative projects and ideas for concert operas and other genres and keen, incisive conducting of the modern works that he favors, he is capable of bringing out astounding depth in other types of music as well, from classical to romantic. His straightforward remarks are at times controversial, but this is due to their keen insight and tendency to cut straight to the heart of the matter, and Japan’s music world would do well to heed his words. We present Mr. Inoue with this award in anticipation of even greater contributions to the music world in Japan.

(Music Award – Western Classical Music Selection Committee)

The 46th
TonenGeneral Music Award Western Classical Music Promotion Division(28th)

HAGIWARA MamiPiano

In 2010, Ms. Hagiwara became the first Japanese to win first prize (piano division) at the 65th Geneva International Music Competition. First prizes are not always awarded at this prestigious competition, and Ms. Hagiwara’s first-place finish was the first awarded in eight years. She was born in Hiroshima. At age 13, she became the youngest pianist ever to win first prize at the Palma D’Oro International Piano Competition. After graduating from the Hiroshima Music High School, she went to study in Paris as part of the Agency for Cultural Affairs’ Overseas Study Program for Artists. She attended the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris, where she earned a Master’s degree, and also studied in the département musique de chambre at the Conservatoire à rayonnement régional de Paris, and graduated from Mozarteum University Salzburg. She is currently based in Paris and performs in many countries, including Japan, France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, as a soloist and in chamber ensembles. She has performed with a number of prominent orchestras both in Japan and abroad, including Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra. Her 2014 performances with Toyota Master Players, Wien, and Quatuor Voce were also highly acclaimed.

Ms. Hagiwara became the first Japanese pianist to win first prize at the Geneva International Music Competition, a competition known for seldom awarding first prizes, in 2010. Since then, she has continued to grow as a musician, further developing her intense focus and musical agility in her performances in concertos, recitals and solo activities, to become one of the most sought-after performers on the classical music scene in Japan. Her progress as a chamber musician has been quite remarkable as well. With her brilliant ensemble playing and exquisitely timed pauses, she evokes a fascinating and profound sense of joy, imbued with an emotional quality seldom seen before in a Japanese pianist. We present Ms. Hagiwara with this award in anticipation of her even greater contributions to music in Japan through her continued success both as a soloist and a chamber musician.

(Music Award – Western Classical Music Selection Committee)

Selection Committees

TonenGeneral Children’s Culture Award

  • NOGAMI Akira
  • Children’s Culture Researcher
  • NAKAI Koji
  • Educational and Cultural Broadcasting Consultant
  • Adjunct Professor, University of the Sacred Heart

TonenGeneral Music Award - Japanese Traditional Music

  • TOKUMARU Yosihiko
  • Professor Emeritus of Ochanomizu University
  • Professor of Seitoku University
  • TSUKAHARA Yasuko
  • Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts
  • KANO Mari
  • Researcher of Japanese music

TonenGeneral 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

2016 Album – Seeking Inner Prosperity

List of Past Awardees