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Cool Japan Matching Award

Dutch embassy in Tokyo receives award from Japanese government for cooperation with Saga Prefecture.

The Dutch Embassy in Tokyo was awarded the second prize in the Cool Japan Matching Awards competition for its collaboration with Saga Prefecture on creative industries! This award was established by the Japanese government as part of their efforts to increase exciting new collaborations between different parties such as local governments, industries and universities to promote Japan abroad.

In 2013 the Dutch embassy concluded an agreement with Saga Prefecture, famous for its Arita porcelain, to give Dutch designers a chance to work together with local artisans in the area. The tie-up was initiated on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Arita porcelain. The Arita porcelain was exported by the Dutch to Europe in the 17th century. From the start of the collaboration DutchCulture was involved in the coordination on the Dutch side, identifying interested counterparts in the cultural sector in the Netherlands. The collaboration between the Netherlands and Saga resulted in a range of new porcelain products named 2016/ Arita. Four Dutch design studios contributed to the new 2016 collection: Studio Scholten & Baijings, Studio Wieki Somers, Christien Meindertsma and Kirsti van Noort.
The exchange with Saga was one the projects highlighted in the Holland-Kyushu programme, a joint effort by the Dutch Embassy and DutchCulture to stimulate cultural exchange between the Netherlands and Kyushu, Japan’s second largest island and home to the Saga Prefecture.

The exchanges bore fruit: a knowledge exchange between the Europees Keramisch Werkcentrum and the Saga Ceramics Laboratory, an Artist in Residence funded by the Mondriaan Fund and the Creative Industries Fund and a student exchange between the Design Academy Eindhoven and the Arita College and Ceramics. Also in the fields of sports and culture new bonds are forged and in the run-up to Tokyo 2020 a program of grass roots exchange between Saga and the Netherlands is programmed enabling among others Dutch artists and sport professionals to present themselves in Japan. The collaboration has already given numerous artists and designers from the Netherlands to work in Saga and will continue to do so.

The agreement of 2013 was updated last year 31 October 2016 when Saga governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi and ambassador Aart Jacobi signed a new agreement which broadened the scope of the collaboration beyond creative industries: people-to-people, culture and architecture are also included.

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Arita 2016/ project