FUKUOKA – Author Pramoedya Ananta Toer of Indonesia has been named recipient of the grand prize in the 11th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes, according to Fukuoka municipal officials.
Myanmarese historian Than Tun and Irish political scientist Benedict Anderson were named winners of the academic prize, while Malaysian artist Hamza Awang Amat will receive the arts and culture prize.
The four will visit Fukuoka between Sept. 15 and Sept. 18 to take part in public forums, visit schools and attend the awards ceremony.
The grand prize includes 5 million yen, while the academic and arts and culture prizes are worth 3 million yen each.
The officials described Pramoedya, 75, as “one of the truly great writers of Asia,” adding that his literary works take up issues concerning national independence and the emancipation of mankind.
They cited his Buru tetralogy, which includes “This Earth of Mankind” and “Child of All Nations,” which were based on his storytelling to fellow political prisoners at locations where he had been exiled. The tetralogy is banned in Indonesia.
Than Tun, 77, a professor emeritus of the University of Yangon, was cited for developing a historical theory that was “strict and objective” and criticized the long-prevailing view of dynastic history that glorified dynasties.
Fukuoka officials described Anderson, 63, a Cornell University professor, as a leading scholar in Southeast Asian area studies who has developed a unique academic field that merges culture with politics.
Hamza, 60, was recognized for performing and passing on the traditional art of “wayang kulit,” or Malaysia’s shadow play.
The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes were established in 1990 to recognize and honor the outstanding efforts of individuals or organizations to preserve and create unique and diverse cultures in Asia.
Fukuoka officials said the prizes are aimed at highlighting the city’s role as a channel of cultural interaction.