It is splendid to see the start of the World Forum on Sport and Culture. This event will kick off a series of activities, such as the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, to promote culture, and also serve as a strong declaration of our commitment, inside and outside of Japan, to invigorate the country through cultural activities. I look forward to seeing this movement of cultural programs spread throughout our nation.

Ryohei Miyata

The Cultural Session held in Kyoto on Oct. 19, titled “Building the Future through Cultural and Artistic Resources — Shine On, Japan,” will welcome intellectuals and eminent people who work at the forefront of their fields around the world, to discuss promoting the diverse and fascinating culture of Japan within the country and internationally, as well as the question of Japan’s cultural legacy, among other topics. A special exhibition ART BRUT (planning: Social Welfare Organization Glow, Borderless Art Museum NO-MA, Social Welfare Corporation AISEIKAI) will be held at the venue. Participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy live performances by GENESIS of entertainment, a wheelchair dance group, the Kyoto Seibo Gakuin Elementary School Choir and Momoiro Clover Z. So, we have a colorful and very rich program waiting for us.

In Tokyo, on the other hand, a cultural session, titled “Inspiration for the Future: Arts and Disability,” is scheduled for Oct. 21, and will focus on social inclusion through culture and art. Panelists will discuss how we can build a society where anybody, regardless of whether they are disabled, can participate in the creation and appreciation of culture and art in various settings, which will lead to further development of the field. With intellectuals from Japan and abroad, a discussion will be held on the artistic activities of the disabled and vulnerable population, as well as how we should get involved with them. An exhibit titled “First Steps toward Art, Design and Disability” and screenings accessible to anyone are planned. I hope this session and related events will help to promote a new aspect, a “new way of life.”

Developing culture is a large task that cannot be tackled by the Agency for Cultural Affairs alone. I hope to take measures to grow more interest by private corporations and people at large in developing culture and art. The development of culture makes people happier and revitalizes the economy at the same time. I would like to ask all Japanese citizens to take part in telling the specific story of how culture and economy come together.

This forum, or the tide created by it to promote culture, is a great opportunity to discover hidden cultural and artistic assets in various regions of Japan, and support their growth. I also think it is important to find new gifted people, and also enjoy exciting collaborations never seen before by such talents to create a new trend.

Finally, I would like to express my utmost appreciation to the many supporters of this forum, including various municipalities and the countless public corporations.

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