The Fifth Tiffany Foundation Award Ceremony was held in Tokyo on October 4, 2012, in Tokyo to honor organizations that have distinguished themselves with their efforts to preserve local cultural heritage while revitalizing their local economies. Two groups were selected for the award out of 63 applicants this year–the Yamamoto Noh Theater from Osaka Prefecture and the Wajima Dozo Culture Renovation Center from Ishikawa Prefecture.
More than 100 leaders from the fields of government, business, arts, civil society, and media attended the ceremony. Fernanda Kellogg, Chair of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation presented a custom-designed Tiffany trophy, and Mr. Mark Davidson, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the United States Embassy also made remarks. The recipients were also awarded a ¥2 million grant (roughly US$25,000). The ceremony was followed by a Noh performance by the Yamamoto Noh Theater.
Each year, JCIE and the Tiffany & Co. Foundation honor two organizations with the Tiffany Award for the Preservation of Japanese Traditional Arts and Culture in Contemporary Society. Exemplary activities are recognized with either the “Taisho Award,” presented to a group that is nationally recognized, or the “Shinkosho Award,” given to organizations that have produced exemplary results at the community level in their region.
Yamamoto Noh Theater (Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture)
Noh is the oldest Japanese theatrical art, with a history stretching back more than 650 years. While it is an important part of Japan’s cultural heritage, Noh is often described as outdated and difficult to understand for contemporary audiences. The Yamamoto Noh Theater was founded in 1927 to preserve and revive this traditional performing art and has undertaken various initiatives to present Noh as an “attractive art that lives in the contemporary era.” The group takes particular pride in its location, Osaka, which has nurtured many forms of Japanese performing arts, including kyogen (traditional comedy theater), bunraku (traditional puppet theater), and rakugo (comic storytelling). To promote Osaka as a city of traditions, the association regularly hosts events that present Noh performances along with other forms of performing arts, giving audiences a comprehensive experience of Osaka’s many cultural activities.
Wajima Dozo Culture Renovation Center
A dozo is one of Japan’s traditional architectural structures, which was used during the Edo Period (1603–1868) to store valuable commodities ranging from rice to gunpowder. In the aftermath of the 2007 earthquake in Wajima, the government’s reconstruction plan led to the destruction of the damaged dozo due to safety concerns as well as the lack of comprehensive support measures for restoring historical structures such as the dozo. As a result, nearly 600 of them disappeared from Wajima’s landscape within a year. In response, the Wajima Dozo Culture Renovation Center initiated a laborious project to preserve the local history by repairing the damaged dozo. Moreover, the group has innovatively utilized dozo as community centers for educational events and concerts, as well as venues for displaying Wajima’s own extraordinary lacquerware culture.