Japanese honours for cultural feats | Daily News

Japanese honours for cultural feats

Priyantha Udagedara receiving the award
Priyantha Udagedara receiving the award
Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister, Sajith Premadasa
Japanese Ambassador, Akira Sugiyama

Once more five outstanding individuals received the prestigious Bunka awards last Saturday. Receiving the Bunka awards is of course an honour and Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund are always eager to honour Sri Lankans, as culture is a bridge between people and serves to further solidify and strengthen relationships between the two countries.

Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Akira Sugiyama pointed out that the ceremony started off in 1993 through the establishment of Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund. So far there have been quite a number of individuals who have received these glorious awards.

“After a careful screening and examination by the selection committee comprising of renowned personalities in the areas of culture, art and education, the winners of this years’ Bunka Awards have been duly selected. Each award winner has been a frontrunner in their respective cultural fields. They have played a role in enriching the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. It gives me great pleasure to be in such an environment of blooming talent. They carry with them hope and promise of a great culture like Sri Lanka. The main objective of this Bunka Award is to strengthen the bond of friendship between Sri Lanka and Japan through cultural interaction,” Ambassador said.

He pointed out that Japan like Sri Lanka inherits a unique and rich cultural heritage. It is an ideal opportunity for both countries to elevate their close relationship and take it to new heights. He also stated that the winners of Bunka Awards, is expected to spearhead this friendship.

“There must be further collaboration between our two communities and our two embassies. We need to connect our hearts and souls, and become so much more to each other. When I speak of the Japanese culture it is diverse and Sri Lanka is also a diverse culture and we need to celebrate unity in diversity. Sri Lanka and Japanese culture can beautifully synchronize when they are blended together,” Ambassador Sugiyama explained.

Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister, Sajith Premadasa added that the 25th Bunka Awards Ceremony is one of great significance that is loyally organized each year by the Embassy of Japan. He stated that the Bunka awards has a long and proud history established by the Japan Sri Lanka Cultural Friendship Fund.

“The Japan Sri Lanka Cultural Friendship Fund has been enhancing friendship between our two countries, through facilitating mutual understanding of our respective arts and culture. Japan and Sri Lanka, have enjoyed over 60 years of diplomatic relations. People to people exchanges in various fields, including cultural exchanges have played a major role in promoting these relations. There have been state visits by members of the imperial family, heads of state and by prominent governmental and non –governmental personalities, ministers, parliamentarians, academics, artistes and business entrepreneurs of both countries,” minister said.

These individuals have contributed in deepening our relations over a long period of time. Minister also pointed out that cultural exchange goes beyond borders. It is an indispensable activity to deepen understanding amongst people, and promotes mutual respect for each other.

“It also serves to smoothen, relations in the fields of politics as well as economic activity. Many people in Sri Lanka, I am aware, are keenly interested in Japan for its diversified and rich culture. They are also enthusiastic in learning the Japanese language and culture. On the other hand, in Sri Lanka, there are many historic and valuable sites, nature reserves and relics, including several world heritage sites which would certainly be of interest to the people of Japan. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the Japanese government to become an active participant in the promotion of cultural development and developmental activities in Sri Lanka. We would certainly welcome, the establishment of Japanese cultural centers in the periphery of the 25 districts in Sri Lanka, our motherland,” he pointed out.

Minister Premadasa also invited Japan to become a stakeholder and a front runner in the cultural development programme of Sri Lanka. He commented that he was happy that five artistes of cultural achievements will receive the prestigious Bunka Awards.

“I observe with much pleasure, that the award winners include a film director, a choreographer, a graphic designer, a visual artiste and a Kandyan dancer. They have contributed greatly to the promotion of our Culture. Since inception, I understand that 134 such awards, have been given to individuals from all walks of life on the basis of their creative activities. They must be encouraged and promoted to keep on doing the good work. The fields are many and varied. I congratulate the award winners today and wish them all the best in their respective careers and future endeavors. I take this opportunity to thank the Ambassador and his staff and last but not least the two respective associations for all the good work,” minister added.

Anuja Madushanka de Silva receiving the award
Indika Ferdinando accepting his award
Selvaraj Leelawathy receiving her award
Thajithangani Dias receiving the award
Award winners. Pictures by Chinthaka Kumarasinghe








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