Children's Culture Award and Music Awards

Overview of Awards

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

The ENEOS 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 ENEOS Music Awards (established in 1971)

The ENEOS 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-three 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.

2022 Awardees of the ENEOS Children's Culture Award and Music Awards

The 57th ENEOS Children’s Culture Award
Japan-Africa Children's Books Project (JACBOP) NGO (Representative: SAKUMA Yumiko)


©Toshiki Sawada

Launched in 2004, the Japan-Africa Children's Books Project (JACBOP) carries out activities aimed at connecting the children of Africa and Japan through books. The NGO’s activities are based on three points: (1) providing continuous support for children’s libraries it has established in Kenya; (2) delivering books to children in Africa who need books for literacy and enjoyment; and (3) conveying African culture and African children’s lifestyles to children in Japan.
With regard to (1), the NGO keeps in contact with local areas in Kenya and currently supports two children’s libraries through such efforts as paying the librarians’ salaries, purchasing books and textbooks, and maintaining library facilities and buildings. Both libraries are open around 300 days per year and have around 20,000 users. With regard to (2), the NGO sends children’s books to Africa when requests are received and arranges to have local contacts distribute the books. With regard to (3), the NGO reads all children’s books related to Africa that are published in Japan, selects books for recommendation, and publicizes these on its website with bibliographical introductions. In addition, the NGO puts together “display sets” comprising its recommended books, display panels, and maps, and lends these out for “Children’s Book Exhibition: Reading, Knowing, Enjoying Africa” events that are held throughout Japan. The NGO also holds lectures, children’s workshops, and other events.

Reason for the award

The Japan-Africa Children's Books Project (JACBOP) was founded in 2004 by volunteers who had been involved in the establishment of the Dream Library, a children’s library in Enzaro Village in western Kenya, following publication of the picture book Enzaro-mura no Kamado (The Cooking Stoves of Enzaro Village) (text: Sakuma Yumiko; illustrations: Sawada Toshiki). Over the 18 years since then, the NGO has been vigorously carrying out activities connecting the children of Africa and Japan through books. The NGO provides continuous support for children’s libraries in Africa, delivering books to Kenya and other African countries in response to children’s desire for literacy and reading. In addition, in order to convey African culture to Japanese children, the NGO selects children’s books related to Africa and holds book fairs displaying these books, as well as cultural events and lectures nationwide, through the efforts of its approximately 100 member volunteers. The committee highly evaluates these achievements.

(Children's Culture Award Selection Committee)

The 52th ENEOS Music Award Japanese Traditional Music Division
TSURUZAWA Tsugaju (zyoryû gidayû syamisen)


©Masanobu Yamanoue

Born in Tokyo, Tsuruzawa Tsugaju graduated from the Theater Course at Waseda University’s School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II in 1980. In 1983 she took the 36th gidayû course. In January 1984, she was apprenticed to Maestra Takemoto Komanosuke and studied syamisen (shamisen) under Nozawa Kinshi IV. In May 1986, she received the name Tsuruzawa Tsugaju—which was the childhood name of Takemoto Komanosuke’s mother-in-law, Tsuruzawa Sanshô—making her stage debut at Honmokutei. She became the entrusted apprentice of Tsuruzawa Jûteru. In 1994, she began accompanying Maestra Takemoto Komanosuke on the syamisen, and in 2009 she was designated as a general holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property (gidayûbusi). She is a member of the Gidayûbusi Hozen Kai (Gidayûbusi Preservation Society). Since 2009, she has served as an instructor of the Takemoto Training Course for the National Theatre of Japan. She has composed music for and participated in performances by small theater troupes such as Gunji Kabuki and Hanagumi Shibai. She has performed with numerous other artists, performing with comic storyteller Yanagiya Kogiku since 2004; as part of the group SATZ (Takahashi Suishu, Fujimoto Akiko, Zenyôji Keisuke) since 2019; and the unit TEAM D (Shimonoto Ayumi, Tôsha Chiho, Hôsei Chiharu, Yamato Ôshô) since 2020.

Reason for the award

Tsuruzawa Tsugaju, syamisen (shamisen) player of gidayûbusi, has been leading syamisen players belonging to zyoryû gidayûbusi (gidayûbusi performed by female performers). She has long performed with Maestra Takemoto Komanosuke, a living national treasure of tayû (vocalist) of this genre. Unlike gidayûbusi in bunraku (puppet theatre), female gidayûbusi is performed in concerts without puppets. Tsuruzawa Tsugaju has captivated domestic and foreign audiences by vividly expressing scenes and characters of drama in perfect ensemble with tayû. Recently, she has embarked on creating new pieces for her instrument by adding contemporary elements to the traditional style. In addition, in 2020, she established a unique group, SATZ, together with players of kokyû (the only bowed instrument of Japan), ziuta syamisen (a chamber music style syamisen), and syakuhati (shakuhachi). The committee highly evaluates the outstanding performance and creative activities of Tsuruzawa Tsugaju, anticipating her achievement of an important role in Japanese music.

(Music Award-Japanese Traditional Music Selection Committee)

The 52th ENEOS Music Award Western Classical Music Division
NODAIRA Ichiro (Composer, Pianist, Conductor)



After graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts and completing its graduate school Master’s course in composition, Mr. Nodaira studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris as a French government scholarship student. As a pianist, he performs as a soloist with orchestras both in Japan and around the world, while as a chamber musician, he performs with many internationally renowned artists. His broad repertoire ranges from classical to modern. In recent years he has been performing and conducting piano concertos and is also active as a conductor, including for performances of his own compositions. He currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Concert Hall Shizuoka AOI and Music Director of Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, and is an emeritus professor at Tokyo University of the Arts and a professor at Tokyo College of Music. In 2021 he was appointed to a three-year term as a council member of contemporary musical creation of the Prince Pierre of Monaco Foundation, and he is currently the jury chairperson of the piano section of the Sendai International Music Competition.

Reason for the award

The emergence of all-round geniuses such as those that existed during the Renaissance, who demonstrated extraordinary skills in multiple fields, is virtually impossible today. This is because fields have been subdivided and specializations have become more focussed and intensified, making it difficult to achieve satisfying results in even one field. However, in Japan there is one person who continues to achieve outstanding results over a broad range of musicial fields. One of Japan’s finest composers, Nodaira Ichiro has not only been comissioned to compose pieces for France’s IRCAM and other organizations, but has also won the Otaka Prize twice for his compositions. As a pianist, he has a broad repertoire ranging from classical to modern, demonstrating his formidable abilities as both a chamber musician and soloist. An in recent years, he has also become increasingly active as a conductor. He is also a music scholar who has published detailed research books on all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. In addition, as the Artistic Director of the Concert Hall Shizuoka AOI and Music Director of Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Mr. Nodaira has demonstrated his excellent capabilities not only in running the halls but also in event planning. He is tirelessly active over a truly diverse range of fields. In recognition of his rare and remarkable achievements thus far and his contribution to Japan’s music world, as well as in anticipation of his activities in the future, we present Mr. Nodaira with the ENEOS Music Award in the Western Classical Music Division.

(Music Award-Western Classical Music Selection Committee)

The 34th ENEOS Music Award Western Classical Music Promotion Division
WAKIZONO Aya (Mezzo-soprano)


©Ambra Iride Sechi

After graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts, Ms. Wakizono completed her studies at the Tokyo University of the Arts graduate school. In 2013 she began studying at the Conservatorio di Musica Arrigo Boito in Parma, Italy, on a Japanese government scholarship. She made her opera debut in Italy in the role of Marchesa Melibea in Il viaggio a Reims (The Journey to Reims) at the Rossini Opera Festival. She has performed at numerous world-renowned theaters including Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and Teatro Massimo di Palermo. In 2018, Ms. Wakizono drew enormous attention with her performance as Rosina in The Barber of Seville at the Rossini Opera Festival Pesaro—a special performance commemorating the 150th anniversary of Rossini’s death. She made her Japan debut in 2017, appearing as Rosina in the Fujiwara Opera production of The Barber of Seville. Since performing the role of Donna Elvira in the New National Theatre of Tokyo production of Don Giovanni in 2019, she has portrayed Rosina in The Barber of Seville and Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro. In October 2021 she sang the titular role in La Cenerentola, captivating audiences with her overwhelming presence and outstanding singing ability. Currently based in Italy, Ms. Wakizono is one of the international artists drawing the most attention today.

Reason for the award

Wakizono Aya, one of the young, up-and-coming singers drawing the most attention internationally today, is based in Italy. She made her Italian debut in 2014 in the role of Marchesa Melibea in Il viaggio a Reims (The Journey to Reims) at the Rossini Opera Festival Pesaro. Since then, she has performed numerous times at this festival and other events, steadily building up an outstanding record of accomplishments. She made her debut in Japan in 2017, appearing in the Fujiwara Opera production of The Barber of Seville in the role of Rosina. Since then, she has continued to perform in major productions, each time being met with fresh astonishment and praise. Her virtuosity enables her to sing perfectly works that are notoriously difficult to perform, such as those by Rossini, in a light, beautiful voice. Ms. Wakizono has an outstanding ability to create portraits of characters that are authentic, deepening her emotional expression through rich performances enhanced by her theatricality. We anticipate that Ms. Wakizono will continue to utilize her expressiveness as an opera singer to the fullest, leading to further success in her future endeavors.

(Music Award-Western Classical Music Selection Committee)

Selection Committees

ENEOS Children's Culture Award NOGAMI Akira Children's Culture Researcher
NAKAI Koji Broadcasting Consultant
Former Professor, University of the Sacred Heart
YAMAGIWA Juichi Director-General, The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
ENEOS Music Award - Japanese Traditional Music TOKUMARU Yosihiko Professor Emeritus of Ochanomizu University
Professor emeritus, Seitoku University
TSUKAHARA Yasuko Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts
KANO Mari Researcher of Japanese music
ENEOS Music Award - Western Classical Music SEKINE Reiko Music Critic
NAKAMURA Takayoshi Chairman of the Board and Professor Emeritus, Osaka College of Music
FUNAKI Atsuya Music Critic

List of Past Awardees