The role of the Japan Art Academy is that of the premier Japanese institution that honors exceptionally-accomplished artists.
In addition to engaging in activities that contribute to the development of the arts, the Japan Art Academy deliberates important matters regarding the arts, and provides counsel on these to Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan and the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs.
The Japan Art Academy was founded as the "Imperial Academy of Fine Arts" in September 1919 based upon the mother organization - the Fine Arts Reviewing Committee - established to hold the Ministry of Education Fine Arts Exhibition in June 1907. The Academy went through an expansion phase, such as its reorganization into the "Imperial Art Academy" in June 1937 to add the fields of literature, music, drama and dance to the already recognized fine arts, and, in December 1947, was renamed "The Japan Art Academy", the name it still uses today.
The Japan Art Academy is comprised of one director and no more than 120 members.
The director, a distinguished and learned individual, is selected through a vote of the members, and appointed by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.
Members, artists of distinguished achievement, are first selected by nomination from each section (through an election held in that section), then approved by a general election, and then appointed by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.
Every year, the Japan Art Academy presents the Imperial Prize and the Japan Art Academy Prize to individuals outside of Academy members who have produced works of art deemed to be outstanding, and individuals who are recognized to have made distinguished contributions to the advancement of art.
The Japan Art Academy has presented these awards every year since 1941, with the exception of a suspension of the awards during wartime and for a brief period thereafter, with 2013 marking the 70th time.
The Imperial Prize is awarded to an individual selected from those individuals who have already been presented with the Japan Art Academy Prize.
The recipient of the Imperial Prize is bestowed with an Imperial gift, while the recipient of the Japan Art Academy Prize is awarded a certificate of merit, a medal and a monetary prize.
The Award Ceremony for the Imperial Prize and the Japan Art Academy Prize is held around June of every year in time for their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress as they take their Royal Outing.
The Headquarters of the Japan Art Academy were built in 1958 under the design of the late Isoya Yoshida (attained membership to the Japan Art Academy in January 1954, received the Order of Culture in November 1964, died March 1974), member of the Japan Art Academy.
Isoya Yoshida remarked that the building "was intended to emphasize the refined and elegant qualities of the Heian Period, while resembling the visages of the Kouin and Fujiwara eras, which would transition to a contemporary form through modern sensibilities. Therefore, a single-story building was selected, and a courtyard typical of the Heian Period was installed encircled with a cloister that was intended to directly and powerfully communicate the Heian Period influence."
The Headquarters is used for meetings and discussions among the members and as the venue for the Japan Art Academy Prize Ceremony, and serves to display (on an irregular basis) the Japan Art Academy's collection of fine arts to the general public in the exhibition room.
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