The Japan Foundation presented this year’s awards for overseas promotion of Japanese culture to four individuals and an institutional recipient at a presentation ceremony held Thursday at a hotel in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

Frank Gibney, president of Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, and Wolfgang Sawallisch, a conductor and music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, were each presented with the Japan Foundation Award and an honorarium of 5 million yen each.

Gibney was honored by the quasi-governmental organization for promoting deeper understanding of Japan and Asia among U.S. citizens through his work as a journalist, publisher and researcher.

Sawallisch, who is also an honorary conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, was acknowledged for his contribution to the promotion and understanding of Western music in Japan. He was represented at the ceremony by an orchestra official.

In accepting the prize, Gibney expressed his appreciation of Japanese culture, saying “there is in all the world no more fascinating culture than yours, here in Japan. I have been held captive by this culture throughout my life.”

The foundation also gave three Special Prizes, accompanied by 2 million yen honoraria to each recipient.

These went to Ahmet Tuncoku, a professor of Japanese studies at Middle East Technical University, Tadashi Yamamoto, president of the Japan Center for International Exchange, and to the Japanese American National Museum.

Tuncoku was acknowledged for his efforts in introducing Japanese culture and history to Turkey through his scholarly works.

Yamamoto was awarded the prize for his devotion in leading numerous international exchange programs between Japan and other countries for more than three decades.

The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles was acknowledged for raising public awareness of the history and culture of Japanese Americans in the United States through its exhibitions and research projects.

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