Birth of the JAPAN PRIZE
The first JAPAN PRIZE was held in 1965. On the closing day of the 2nd International Conference of Broadcasting Organizations on Sound and Television School Broadcasting held in Tokyo in 1964, Shinnosuke Abe, then President of Japan Broadcasting Corporation(NHK) announced that various international contests were held with the purpose of improving the standards of broadcast programs, but most of them were devoted to the fields of arts and entertainment, adding that school and educational programs and culture programs were not given full recognition. Thus he proposed the establishment of an International Education Program Contest and awarding of the JAPAN PRIZE to the best program, at the same time commemorating the 40th anniversary of the inauguration of radio broadcasting in Japan. When this proposal was announced, the participants welcomed it passionately and the conference hall was filled with loud applause. The plan for the JAPAN PRIZE Contest was also officially introduced at the general assembly of the Asian (now Asia-Pacific) Broadcasting Union (ABU) and European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and was approved. Thus the history of the JAPAN PRIZE International Education Program Contest began.
The First JAPAN PRIZE
The first JAPAN PRIZE Contest was held for eleven days between October 11 and 21 in 1965 at NHK Broadcasting Center in Tokyo with the aim of improving the quality of educational programs and promoting international understanding and co-operation among nations. Ninety-five radio programs and 90 TV programs (for a total of 185 programs), which was more than had been expected, from various broadcasting stations all over the world, including both developed and developing nations, were entered in the Contest. Many young countries from Asia and Africa which became independent after World War II were included in the participating countries. The JAPAN PRIZE has provided an inspiration and a major goal for those young countries that determined to focus on education for their future.
Responding to the Changes of the Times
The major changes in the JAPAN PRIZE that took place up to its 20th edition were as follows;
*Until its 8th edition(1972), five JAPAN PRIZEs were held at NHK’s regional broadcasting stations around Japan.
*JAPAN PRIZE did not take place in 1974. (One was held in March 1975, February 1977 and every other fall, six times, from 1979 through 1989. Since its 18th edition in 1991, it has become an annual event again.
*Radio Program Category was closed at its 18th edition (1991).
*The next 20 editions saw a number of changes that could affect the fundamental character of the JAPAN PRIZE;
*In 1990s, there were repeated eliminations and consolidations of divisions (now categories).
*In 2008, the Contest opened its doors to include not only educational programs, but all educational media with audiovisual content.
*In 2010, Innovative Media Prize was started to select the best non-linear work exhibiting the most innovative use of its media characteristics.
*In 2012, International Producers Conference for Educational Media (IPCEM) was launched.
Focus on Digital Media
The JAPAN PRIZE has paid close attention to excellent digital works at an early stage. Awarding and introducing on-line learning games where children solve problems through collaboration, and websites for learning history from various perspectives, the JAPAN PRIZE has clearly demonstrated that advancement of information technology is greatly changing education.
Forum for Peers around the World
The JAPAN PRIZE has traditionally hosted screenings of entries and sessions by producers and researchers. These events are now under one umbrella called IPCEM (International Producers Conference for Educational Media) that has taken a step forward to provide professionals with an opportunity to share the latest trend in educational contents, roles of media and future education.