Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award Celebrated In Tokyo

At a ceremony in Tokyo today, His Imperial Highnesses Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association, and Princess Hitachi paid homage to the winners of the organization's 2018 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award. They are Pierre Alechinsky, Painting (Belgium/France); Fujiko Nakaya, Sculpture (Japan); Christian de Portzamparc, Architecture (France); Riccardo Muti, Music (Italy); and Catherine Deneuve, Theatre/Film (France).

Before the awards ceremony, a special reception to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Praemium Imperiale was held in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and HIH Empress and Prince and Princess Hitachi.

Now in its 30th year, the Praemium Imperiale is the world's most prestigious international prize in the fields of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music, and Theatre/Film. It has become a powerful voice for the importance of culture in today's world, bringing international attention to the arts in much the same way as the Nobel Prize brings attention to the sciences.

At the Tokyo ceremony each laureate received a specially-designed gold medal, a testimonial letter from Prince Hitachi and a check for 15 million yen (approximately $136,000). Representing Mr. Alechinsky at the ceremony was Michel Draquet, Director, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Biographies of the 2018 winners can be found here.

The 2018 laureates join a roster of 149 artists, including Martha Argerich, Ingmar Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Brook, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Anthony Caro, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Judi Dench, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Norman Foster, Athol Fugard, Frank Gehry, Philip Glass, Zaha Hadid, Jean-Luc Godard, David Hockney, Willem De Kooning, Akira Kurosawa, Yossou N'Dour, Shirin Neshat, Arvo Pärt, Renzo Piano, Maya Plisetskaya, Robert Rauschenberg, Mstislav Rostropovich, Martin Scorsese, Ravi Shankar, Cindy Sherman, and Ellen Stewart. A complete list of winners can be found here.

The Praemium Imperiale was created in 1988 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, who was the Association's honorary patron for almost six decades. The Association chooses the winners based on the recommendations of individual International Advisors in England, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and the United States. Each advisor is guided by the recommendations of a nominating committee comprising cultural leaders from his home country. The International Advisors are leading figures with a deep interest or involvement in the arts.

For information about the Japan Art Association and the Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award, please visit

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