Japan continues to promote international excellence through educational media.

The Japan Prize Foundation is an organization that invites educators and producers from all over the world to submit their work relating to education. Entries are categorized by Audio Visual and TV proposal divisions. The best for each division is selected. Furthermore, every year a Grand Prize is given to the most popular entry of both divisions.

Last year, The Japan Prize Foundation had it’s 33rd annual contest at the NHK Broadcasting Center in Shibuya. Of over 309 media entries regarding education from over 61 countries. I was invited to attend the event by the CoFesta Ambassadors organization. I, along with other invited guests, came to the week-long event and watched many of the entries via Japan Prize’s library page (Entries can only be watched by those who participated with the event). There were also live viewings at the broadcast center, paired with panel discussions and Q&A sessions with the entry producers who could explain the stories or technology a bit more.

My personal favorite entry was “Deadline.” This story followed south east Asian children who were largely independent from their parents and worked to earn enough money to continue on their schooling. Some students were successful in meeting the financial deadline to pay for school tuition, uniforms, and boarding while others confronted a difficult reality.

At the celebration’s end, I was able to meet with a few of the winners and other participants over dinner. The passion these people had for representing their home countries and bringing the education issues facing their neighbors was fierce.

Dare I say, it was the same sort of passion I saw for the 11 companies from Tohoku that presented their ideas for bringing economical growth and interest to their once battered land.

The Reconstruction Agency Event

Just this past Monday, I was invited by Ruth Jarman of Jarman International K.K. to observe and vote on the ways the Tohoku area can make the area more inviting to international tourists. I felt a sense of familiarity to the Reconstruction Agency event compared to The Japan Prize Contest. Once more I was the observer.

It was delightful to watch each company propose their own tour packages to bringing more international tourists to Japan. From executive luxury tours to cycling food tours to fun safe spaces for muslim tourists, each company presented their ideas and invited us to share our opinions of their strategy.

Watching these companies represent their home towns and ideas for bettering Tohoku reminded me how the international producers of Japan Prize felt when spreading awareness of their own projects.

I look forward to seeing what the Japan Prize will bring this year in 2018. What will the message be for global awareness on education?

Perhaps TopTia Photography will be able to capture the special moments of both the Japan Prize and Reconstruction Agency events.

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