Josai University Educational Corporation


Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Josai University Educational Corporation and Ceremony for the Mikio Mizuta Memorial Global Award at Tokyo Kioicho Campus Building 3

On February 7, 2017, the Josai University Educational Corporation awarded the Mikio Mizuta Memorial Global Award, which was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the corporation, to Mr. Joe Price, Director of the Shin’enKan Foundation in a ceremony held at Tokyo Kioicho Campus, Building 3. Joe Price has initiated a re-evaluation of Japanese Edo era paintings, particularly those by the famous painter Ito Jakuchu.

The founder of Josai University, Mikio Mizuta (1905-1976), devoted huge efforts in the postwar rebuilding of Japan, helping to achieve economic growth, and improving the status of Japan in the international community. Mikio Mizuta also promoted education passionately with initiatives such as making compulsory education expenses a responsibility of the state and by providing subsidies for private schools. Josai University was founded in 1965 with the goal of “human formation by learning.” The Mikio Mizuta Memorial Global Award embodies the spirit of the efforts to rebuild and re-develop Japan. The award was established with the aim of honoring all those who have, in their writings or activities, made remarkable contributions to the revitalization of the Japanese economy, society, and culture.

Mr. Joe Price was born in Oklahoma, in 1929. He is 87 years old. After graduating from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, he worked as an engineer in his father’s company. He began collecting Japanese paintings from around 1955 onwards. On his first visit to Japan in 1963, he met Yoshiko, who soon became his wife, and who also helped him expand his collection. He established the Shin’enKan Foundation in 1981. In 1988, part of his collection was entrusted to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Japanese Pavilion (Japan Art Museum) was created. This collection is the largest Ito Jakuchu collection owned by one individual, and it has become one of the world’s leading Edo era painting collections. In addition to discovering artists of the Edo era, who had been overlooked by researchers for a long time, Mr. Price has lent works from his collection to exhibitions in Japan, creating a “Jakuchu Boom” in recent years.

Some 100 faculty members and guests attended the award ceremony. They included the Honorary Chairman of the Japan Business Federation and Selection Committee Chairman, Hiromasa Yonekura; the former director of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and Selection Committee member, Masanori Aoyagi; former Vice-Minister of Financial Affairs, Toyoo Gyoten; and former president of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc., Ryoki Sugita. Chancellor Ad Interim of Josai University Educational Corporation, Motoyuki Ono, started by saying, “Mr. Price is a benefactor of the Japanese people, who has promoted Japanese culture around the world. I am honored that we have been able to choose Mr. Price as the first award winner.” On behalf of the selection committee, Noriko Mizuta explained, “The major goal of the founder was postwar reconstruction and gaining appreciation in the international community. Considering the university’s purpose of valuing culture, this award reflects the feelings and intentions of Mikio Mizuta, and I think that the founder would be happy.” Noriko Mizuta then gave the certificate, prize, and souvenirs to Mr. and Mrs. Price at the press conference. Mr. Price responded with a smile and commented that he was happy to receive the award, and he talked about his experiences in collecting Jakuchu paintings and said, “I have been living my life with Jakuchu”. The proceeds from the traveling exhibition have been used as rebuilding assistance in three prefectures affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, and Mr. Price commented, “I was impressed to receive so many letters of thanks from young people, and to see them shedding tears while viewing the paintings. Even at a previous exhibition in the city, young people sat on the floor and observed the works in tears. I remember feeling touched by the fact that young people could finally appreciate Edo era paintings.”

Opening address by Chancellor Ad Interim Ono

Opening address by Chancellor Ad Interim Ono

Mr. and Mrs. Price receiving the certificate from Prof. Mizuta

Mr. and Mrs. Price receiving the certificate from
Prof. Mizuta

Commemorative photo with members of the Selection Committee

Commemorative photo with members of
the Selection Committee

At the reception, speeches were given by Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, Nobuo Tsuji, and the chairman of the International Ukiyo-e Society and Director of Okada Art Museum, Tadashi Kobayashi, who are close friends with Mr. and Mrs. Price, the initiators of the “Jakuchu boom” in Japan. In her presentation, Mrs. Price explained lightheartedly that Mr. Price and Mr. Tsuji met half a century ago, “Joe Price is a collector, Professor Tsuji is a scholar, and Professor Kobayashi is his number one disciple. We were colleagues in putting this together. Together we have been a valuable team in the history of Japanese art which will stick together till the end”. The ceremony ended with a large round of applause.

Mr. Tsuji (second from the left), Mr. Kobayashi (third from the left), and Mr. and Mrs. Price at the reception

Mr. Tsuji (second from the left), Mr. Kobayashi (third from the left),
and Mr. and Mrs. Price at the reception

After the ceremony, Mr. and Mrs. Price happily answered questions posed by students from the Media Department at Josai International University. Mrs. Price spoke about the traveling exhibition set up in the three prefectures affected by the 2011 earthquake, “Since school students were admitted for free, many of the visitors were young people who had never been to a museum, such as boys from the baseball team, who ended up coming every day. That really put a smile on my face.”

Mr. and Mrs. Price answering a student’s question

Mr. and Mrs. Price answering a student’s question

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