PhotoAwards

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Compiled and written by Philbert Ono

Last updated: Nov. 2005

What's this? List of Japan's major photography awards.

There are many prestigious photography awards given in Japan. Most of the major photography awards are listed below. The Japanese kanji equivalent of the award names are also provided. (Ignore them if your computer cannot read it.)

This list is to help you understand what kind of awards Japanese photographers receive. These are the awards which you may see in the biographies of Japanese photographers (i.e., PhotoWho'sWho). Many of these awards do not invite applicants. Winners are usually chosen by a panel of judges and/or members of the sponsoring organization who examine the photographer's past activites and published work in Japan.

Also, foreign winners of major Japanese photography awards either do not exist or are very rare (only the Photographic Society of Japan's International Award and Higashikawa Awards have an award for foreign photographers).


Anima Award アニマ賞
Sponsor: Heibonsha
Est.: 1984
Award for wildlife and nature photography.
Some Past Winners: HOSHINO Michio (1986), IMAMORI Mitsuhiko (1989), HAMADA Futoshi and ODAMOTO Tomoyuki (1999).


Domon Ken Award 土門 拳賞
Sponsor: Mainichi Shimbun Newspapers
Est.: 1982
Annual award to photographers who have produced outstanding documentary work (photo exhibitions or books) during the past calendar year. Awarded to amateurs as well as pros.
Award: Certificate, bronze statue, 300,000 yen.
Some Past Winners: NAITO Masatoshi (1983), NOMACHI Kazuyoshi (1984), ENARI Tsuneo (1985), MIYAZAKI Manabu (1990), JUMONJI Bishin (1991), NAGAKURA Hiromi (1993), SUNAMORI Katsumi (1996), SUDA Issei (1997), MOTOHASHI Seiichi (1998), MIZUKOSHI Takeshi (1999), KANEMURA Osamu (1999).


Higashikawa Awards 東川賞
Sponsor: Higashikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
Est.: 1985
This township gives the following four annual awards during the Higashikawa International Photo Festival for work made within three years before the award winner is selected.

Overseas Photographer Award 海外作家賞 (Kaigai Sakka-sho)
Est.: 1985
Award: 500,000 yen
Each year, an outstanding photographer from a different part of the world is selected to receive this award.

Domestic Photographer Award 国内作家賞 (Kokunai Sakka-sho)
Est.: 1985
Award: 500,000 yen
Awarded for photo works which leave a lasting influence on photographic history, expression, or photographic future.
Some Past Winners: SUDA Issei (1985), UEDA Shoji (1988), ARAKI Nobuyoshi (1991)

New Photographer Award 新人作家賞 (Shinjin Sakka-sho)
Est.: 1986
Award: 300,000 yen
Some Past Winners: KON Michiko (1987), IMAMORI Mitsuhiko (1994), SETO Masato (1995)

Special Award 特別賞 (Tokubetsu-sho)
Est.: 1985
Award: 300,000 yen
For outstanding work by a photographer from Hokkaido or living in Hokkaido or for outstanding Hokkaido photography.
Some Past Winners: SEKIGUCHI Tetsuya (1986), SHIMIZU Takeo (1993)


INA Nobuo Award 伊奈 信男賞
Sponsor: Nikon Salon
Est.: 1976
Annual award for the best photo exhibition held at the Nikon Salon between Oct. and Sept. INA Nobuo was a pioneering photo critic.
Award: Bronze statue, Nikon camera, motor drive, and accessories, 1 million yen.
Some Past Winners: FUKASE Masahisa (1977), TSUCHIDA Hiromi (1978), JUMONJI Bishin (1980), HANABUSA Shinzo and KUWABARA Shisei (1982), MASUDA Akihisa (1984), NAGANO Shigeichi (1986), YOKOSUKA Noriaki (1989), SUZUKI Kunihiro (1993), EGUCHI Hiromi (1995), YAMAUCHI Michio (1997), DODO Shunji (1999), UCHIYAMA Hideaki (2000).


Japan Photo Critics Association Awards 日本写真批評家協会賞 (Nihon Shashin Hihyoka Kyokai-sho)
This association gave the following three annual awards from 1957 to 1969:

Artist Award 作家賞 (Sakka-sho)
Est.: 1957
Some Past Winners: HAMAYA Hiroshi and ISHIMOTO Yasuhiro (1957), DOMON Ken (1958), MIKI Jun (1959), NAGANO Shigeichi (1960), TOMATSU Shomei (1961), Midorikawa Yoichi (1962), HOSOE Eikoh (1963), KIMURA Ihee (1965).

Newcomer's Award 新人賞 (Shinjin-sho)
Est.: 1957
Some Past Winners: NAKAMURA Masaya and TOMATSU Shomei (1957), NARAHARA Ikko (1958), IMAI Hisae (1959), HOSOE Eikoh (1960), HAYASAKI Osamu (1961), TATSUKI Yoshihiro and TOMIYAMA Haruo (1965), Shinoyama Kishin (1966), MORIYAMA Daido (1967), MORINAGA Jun (1969).

Special Award 特別賞 (Tokubetsu-sho)
Est.: 1963
Some Past Winners: KUWABARA Shisei (1962), YOKOSUKA Noriaki (1963), TAMURA Shigeru (1967), Japan Professional Photographers Society (1968)


Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS) Award 日本写真家協会賞 (Nihon Shashin-ka Kyokai-sho)
Sponsor: Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS) 日本写真家協会賞 (Nihon Shashin-ka Kyokai)
Est.: 1967
This award is presented (annually since 1981) to an individual, organization, or corporation which has made meritorious contributions to the creative activity of professional photographers or to the cultural development of photography in Japan. The awards ceremony is held every December.
Award: Certificate and medal.
Some Past Winners: Fuji Photo Salon (1967), Nikon Salon (1971), INA Nobuo (1975), KANEMARU Shigene (1977), Heibonsha (1981), Canon Salon (1982), Minolta Camera Co. (1986), PPS (1988), Konica (1990), JCII (1992), Asahi Camera magazine (1993), Fuji Photo Film (1994), Nippon Camera-sha (1995), Kodak Photo Salon (1997), Olympus Plaza (1998), Higashikawa Town (1999).

JPS Exhibition JPS展 (JPS Ten)
Sponsor: Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS) 日本写真家協会賞 (Nihon Shashin-ka Kyokai)
Est.: 1976
Held annually since 1976, the JPS Exhibition is the culmination of a photo competition open to pro and amateur photographers (including foreigners) in Japan. A tight screening process selects the best works to be exhibited. The number of entrants has been increasing each year, and the quality of exhibited works is very high. The exhibition is held in Tokyo and other major cities in Japan.
Awards: Gold (500,000 yen), silver (150,000 yen), and bronze (50,000 yen) awards are given to the top winners.


KIKUCHI Kan Award 菊池寛賞
Sponsor: Japan Culture Promotion Society (Nihon Bungaku Shinko-kai)
Est.: 1953-1988
Presented to individuals who have been highly active in cultural fields and who have unique creativity.
Award: 500,000 yen and a clock.
Some Past Winners: NATORI Yonosuke (1953), KIMURA Ihee (1955), DOMON Ken (1971), IRIE Taikichi (1976), TANUMA Takeyoshi (1985), SHIRAKAWA Yoshikazu (1988).


KIMURA Ihee Photo Award 木村伊兵衛写真賞
Sponsor: Asahi Shimbun newspapers
Est.: 1976
Named after the late KIMURA Ihee, this annual award is bestowed to a newcomer who has produced outstanding work in photography in the past calendar year (Jan. to Dec.). Selection is based on published or exhibited work. The winner can be professional or amateur, and there is no age restriction. There is no entry procedure. People in the Japanese photography world are given a questionnaire, and candidates for the Award are selected based on the opinions written on the questionnaire. The candidates' works are then reviewed by a panel of judges (usually consisting of prominent photographers) who then select the winner. This is one of the most prestigious photography awards in Japan.
Award: Certificate and medal, 1,000,000 yen (split evenly in the case of multiple winners)
Some Past Winners: FUJIWARA Shinya (1977), ISHIUCHI Miyako (1978), IWAGO Mitsuaki and KURATA Seiji (1979), ENARI Tsuneo (1980), MIYOSHI Kazuyoshi (1985), NAKAMURA Ikuo (1987), HOSHINO Michio (1989), KON Michiko (1990), SHIBATA Toshio (1991), OHNISHI Mitsugu and KOBAYASHI Norio (1992), SETO Masato (1995), HATAKEYAMA Naoya (1996), TSUZUKI Kyoichi (1997), HOMMA Takashi (1998), HIROMIX, NAGASHIMA Yurie, and NINAGAWA Mika (2000).


Kodansha Photo Award 講談社写真賞 (Kodansha Shashin-sho)
Sponsor: Kodansha (publishing company)
Est.: 1960-1968
Some Past Winners: MIKI Jun (1960), KUMAGIRI Keisuke (1961), Asahi Shimbun newspaper Photo Dept. (1963), OKAMURA Akihiko (1964), KUWABARA Shisei (1965), KIMURA Keiichi (1967), Mainichi Shimbun newspaper Photo and Photo Publishing Dept. (1968).

Kodansha Publication Culture Award, Photography Award 講談社出版文化賞 写真賞 (Kodansha Shuppan Bunka-sho Shashin-sho)
Sponsor: Kodansha (publishing company)
Est.: 1970
Awarded annually to the person whose photos appeared in a magazine (excluding commercial camera magazines and documentary magazines) in the past year, which were judged to be the most outstanding.
Some Past Winners: SAWADA Kyoichi (1971), OHKURA Shunji (1972), SHINOYAMA Kishin (1973), AKIYAMA Shotaro (1974), Shukan Gendai magazine Photo staff (1977), TOMIYAMA Haruo (1978), SAWATARI Hajime (1979), YOKOSUKA Noriaki (1982), IWAGO Mitsuaki (1985), TATSUKI Yoshihiro (1987), NOMURA Seiichi (1988), OISHI Yoshino (1990), NOMACHI Kazuyoshi (1993), MIZUKOSHI Takeshi (1994), MIYAZAKI Manabu (1995), NAKAMURA Ikuo (1997), KURATA Seiji (1999), OHNISHI Nariaki (1999).


Konica Photo Encouragement Award コニカ写真奨励賞 (Konica Shashin Shorei-sho)
Sponsor: Konica Visual Science Promotion Foundation & Konica Corp.
Est.: 1990
Seeks to discover new photographic talent and to promote photographic culture. Photography project proposals are solicited and screened. The winner receives 5 million yen to pursue the photography project. The results are exhibited for free at Konica Plaza in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Some Past Winners: MIYOSHI Kozo (1993), NINAGAWA Mika (1998), ONO Hiroshi (1999).


Mainichi Art Award 毎日芸術賞 (Mainichi Geijutsu-sho)
Sponsor: Mainichi Shimbun-sha (Newspapers)
Est.: 1961
Awarded to promote the arts.
Award: Certificate, 1 million yen and gift.
Some Past Winners: DOMON Ken (1960), IWAMIYA Takeji (1965), NARAHARA Ikko (1967), ISHIMOTO Yasuhiro (1969), SHIRAKAWA Yoshikazu (1971), WATANABE Yoshio (1973). Tomatsu Shomei (1975), NAMIKAWA Banri (1976), HAYASHI Tadahiko (1978), SHINOYAMA Kishin (1979), FUJIWARA Shinya (1981), SUGIMOTO Hiroshi (1988), ENARI Tsuneo (1995), HATAKEYAMA Naoya (2000).

Mainichi Photo Award 毎日写真賞 (Mainichi Shashin-sho)
Sponsor: Mainichi Shimbun-sha (Newspapers)
Est.: 1955-1959
Some Past Winners: HAMAYA Hiroshi (1956), DOMON Ken (1958), TOMATSU Shomei (1959)

Mainichi Publishing Culture Award 毎日出版文化賞 (Mainichi Shuppan Bunka-sho)
Sponsor: Mainichi Shimbun-sha (Newspapers)
Est.: 1953-1994
For outstanding photo books.
Some Past Winners: DOMON Ken (1955), HAMAYA Hiroshi (1958), MAEDA Shinzo (1985), NAMIKAWA Banri (1986), IMAMORI Mitsuhiko (1994).


MIKI Jun Award 三木 淳賞
Sponsor: Nikon Salon Juna21
Est.: 1999
Annual award for the year's best photo exhibition held at the Nikon Salon Juna 21. MIKI Jun was a photographer who helped to promote Nikon equipment during the 1950s.
Award:
Some Past Winners:

Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts 芸術選奨文部大臣賞
Sponsor: Agency for Cultural Affairs (Japanese Ministry of Education)
Est.: 1950-1994
Awarded to people in various artistic disciplines, including photography, who have outstanding achievements or who have paved new paths in the field and stimulated and promoted artistic activities.
Award: Certificate and 300,000 yen.
Some Past Winners: KIMURA Ihee (1955), WATANABE Yoshio (1957), DOMON Ken (1959), NARAHARA Ikko (1967), IWAMIYA Takeji (1968), HOSOE Eikoh (1969), SHIRAKAWA Yoshikazu (1971), SHINOYAMA Kishin (1972), TOMATSU Shomei (1975), ISHIMOTO Yasuhiro (1977), TOMIYAMA Haruo (1980), HAMAYA Hiroshi (1981), NOMACHI Kazuyoshi (1989), OISHI Yoshino (1994), SONOBE Kiyoshi (1994).


Natori Yonosuke Photo Award 名取 洋之助写真賞 (Natori Yonosuke Shashin-sho)
Sponsor: Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS) 日本写真家協会賞 (Nihon Shashin-ka Kyokai)
Est.: 2005
This newly-established award is presented to documentary photographers younger than 30 years old. Open to both pro and amateurs who must submit 30 photos in 8x10 inch or A4 size during July 1-20. The winner is announced in Sept. For details, call JPS at (03) 3265-7451.
Award: 300,000 yen top prize and 100,000 yen for the runner-up
Some Past Winners:


New Cosmos of Photography 写真新世紀 (Shashin Shin-Seiki)
Sponsor: Canon
Est.: 1991
A widely-recognized photo contest for up and coming photographers. Entries are accepted and judged twice a year. Four winners are selected each time. Works by the eight winners are exhibited at the end of the year in Tokyo, and one grand prize winner is selected for the 1 million yen prize. HIROMIX got her start by winning this contest.
Some Past Winners: HIROMIX, SANAI Masafumi, others (1995), NINAGAWA Mika, others (1996), YAMAMOTO Kaori, others(1998), NAKAMURA Haruko, others (2000)


Photographic Society of Japan Awards 日本写真協会賞 (Nihon Shashin Kyokai-sho):
This society bestows a number of prestigious annual awards as follows:

International Award 国際賞 (Kokusai-sho)
Est.: 1985
Awarded to a non-Japanese individual or organization for internationally outstanding contributions to the photography world.
Some Past Winners: George Eastman House (1985), David Duncan (1991), Cornell Capa (1995), John Szarkowski (1997), Jean-Luc Monterosso (1998), L. Fritz Gruber (1999).

Distinguished Contribution Award 功労賞 (Koro-sho)
Est.: 1957
Awarded to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to the photography world.
Some Past Winners: INA Nobuo (1958), Edward Steichen (1961), Irie Taikichi (1966), WATANABE Yoshio (1970), ISHII Konosuke (1984), HANAYA Kanbe'e (1986), HAYASHI Tadahiko (1988), Domon Ken Museum (1989), Higashikawa-cho, Hokkaido (1991), KUWABARA Kineo (1991), NAKAMURA Masaya (1994). HAGA Hideo (1997), TANNO Akira (1998), KAJIWARA Takao (2000).

Award of the Year 年度賞 (Nendo-sho)
Est.: 1957
Awarded to individuals or organizations for outstanding photographic achievement (for the period from Apr. to Mar.) or past record.
Some Past Winners: WATANABE Yoshio (1957), HAMAYA Hiroshi (1958), DOMON Ken (1960), MIKI Jun (1962), Asahi Shimbun Photo Dept. (1964), Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS) (1969), SHINOYAMA Kishin (1970), UEDA Shoji (1975), SHIRAHATA Shiro (1977), MORIYAMA Daido (1983), FUJII Hideki (1985), ARAKI Nobuyoshi (1990), HOSOE Eikoh and TANUMA Takeyoshi (1994), NAGANO Shigeichi and MIYAZAKI Manabu (1995), TATSUKI Yoshihiro and NOMACHI Kazuyoshi (1997), SATO Akira and WATANABE Katsumi (1998), Iwanami Shoten publishers (2000)

Newcomer's Award 新人賞 (Shinjin-sho)
Est.: 1958
Awarded annually to one or more promising photographers, critics, and researchers.
Some Past Winners: Yokosuka Noriaki (1963), Hanabusa Shinzo (1965), Suda Issei and FUJIWARA Shinya (1976), Jumonji Bishin and ENARI Tsuneo (1977), GOCHO Shigeo (1978), MIYAZAKI Manabu (1982), NAGAKURA Hiromi (1983), MIYOSHI Kozo (1986), KOBAYASHI Norio (1987), SETO Masato (1989), KAMIYAMA Yoichi (1993), SUNAMORI Katsumi (1996), KANEMURA Osamu (1997), NOMURA Keiko (1999).

Culture Promotion Award 文化振興賞 (Bunka Shinko-sho)
Est.: 1995
Award for individuals and organizations who have made outstanding efforts to promote the cultural development of photography.
Some Past Winners: Photo Symposium in Okinawa Execution Committee (1995), Tokuyama City Culture Promotion Foundation (1996), TABUCHI Yukio Memorial Museum (1998), Photo Gallery International (1999), Friends Without a Border (2000).


Photo City Sagamihara Awards フォトシティさがみはら
Sponsor: Sagamihara, Kanagawa Pref.
Est.: 2001
Annual photo festival held in Oct./Nov. and awards given to pro and amateur photographers. Besides the main Sagamihara Photo Award, there are also the Asia Award for Asian photographers (excluding Japanese) and a Newcomer Award. Emphasis on documentary photography. Winning photos are exhibited at several venues centering on the Sagamihara Citizen's Gallery (Sagamihara Shimin Gallery) in the Sagamihara Station building. Photographer ENARI Tsuneo is one of the main advisors for the festival. Web site: http://www.city.sagamihara.kanagawa.jp/profile/photocity/photo.html
Award:
Some Past Winners: NAGAKURA Hiromi (2003), FURUYA Seiichi (2004), GOTO Masaru (2005)


Sakata City DOMON Ken Culture Award 酒田市土門拳文化賞
Sponsor: Sakata, Yamagata Pref.
Est.: 1995
Annual award.


Taiyo Award 太陽賞
Sponsor: Heibonsha (publishing company)
Est.: 1964-2000
Highly prestigious award named after Taiyo magazine. Presented to upcoming photographers who attempt new and original photographic expression. The winner is selected by a photo competition open to anyone. The outstanding photo documentary/reportage in the past year is selected. This award has been a major boost for new photographers. Unfortunately, the magazine folded in 2000 and this award was abolished the same year.
Award: Certificate and medal, 500,000 yen.
Some Past Winners: ARAKI Nobuyoshi (1964), MOTOHASHI Seiichi (1968), TSUCHIDA Hiromi (1971), MATSUSHIMA Susumu (in katakana) (1978), HASHIGUCHI George (1981), OHNISHI Mitsugu (1985), ITO Mari (1997), HIYO Gakubin (1999).


Japanese Government Awards
The Japanese government awards the following for people in the arts:

Medal with Purple Ribbon 紫綬褒章
Awarded annually by the Ministry of Education to individuals who have made an outstanding discovery, innovation, or contribution in the arts and sciences.

Fourth Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette

Fifth Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette


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