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Matsumoto Culture-Art-Promotion Foundation Significance and history

Trustee, Matsumoto Culture-Art-Promotion Foundation
Yasutoshi Eguchi Former Secretary-General

The Foundation was established by Takamitsu Matsumoto (my father-in-law), who founded Ejimaya as part of a strategic shift into the real-estate rental business after running a supermarket business, out of a desire to contribute to society through art, an area in which he had a long-running interest, after resigning as president of his company in 1992.
There had been discussions about supporting amateur artists at the time, but when Takamitsu and his wife Tomiko, who were both from Fukuoka Prefecture’s Asakura District, sought advice from Shigeshi Ouchida (who passed away in 1994), a member of the Japan Art Academy and former director of the incorporated association Shigenkai, he proposed providing support for children instead and suggested that the pair consult with Professor Atsumu Miyazaki, the president of Shigenkai’s Fukuoka Chapter and a professor emeritus at the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka. Thereafter began a period of close cooperation between the couple and the professor.
Professor Miyazaki inquired whether they could provide a grant to the secretariat responsible for running the Fukuoka Prefecture Elementary Students’ Painting Exhibition, the largest children’s art exhibition in Fukuoka Prefecture, as the body was struggling with funding challenges. He also proposed to the exhibition that it could fulfill its goal of promoting exhibitions of children’s art by including works by young children. Since the prefecture lacked its own young children’s painting exhibition, the body agreed to consider taking advantage of the opportunity to host the Fukuoka Prefecture Young Children’s Painting Exhibition, an exhibition which sought submissions from the general public and which was hosted by The Nishinippon Shimbun. Against the backdrop of these specific proposals, we resolved to create a promotional foundation that would support exhibitions of children’s art.
The effort to establish the foundation began with the idea that we could contribute to the development of exhibitions of children’s art in Fukuoka Prefecture despite our small size by continuing to operate into the indefinite future while striving to foster the growth of children with a human touch.
We sought advice from the Fukuoka Prefectural Education Committee in 1992 but were told that the committee would not authorize such a body since providing funds for children’s art exhibitions was not a sufficiently significant reason to establish a foundation.
An investigation of how the Fukuoka Prefecture Elementary Students’ Painting Exhibition was operating and the issues it was facing at the time found that while children’s artwork was used for purposes such as instruction in various schools for just one year after each exhibition, the question arose as to whether those works of art could not be utilized in a more effective manner. In response, we focused on the idea of building a painting database that would let users review images of paintings in the manner of the management systems used by libraries, even if the system were restricted to just works receiving a Special Selection Prize at the exhibition, and on creating a warehouse at the Foundation’s office to collect and store works after they had been used in school education and then loan them out for subsequent use.
We believed that if the provision of funding could be added to the above activities, we would be able to create an unprecedented children’s art exhibition that would foster lifelong education.
When we applied for activities based on the above framework, we received authorization to establish the Foundation in an unusually expedited manner. Twenty years has already passed since the Foundation was established.
Now that the Internet has entered into widespread use, we’re proud to have built the Internet Children’s Museum Fukuoka, a unique website that makes close to 20,000 works of art available to a global audience.
Looking back over the Foundation’s history, it's clear that the current public-interest incorporated foundation would not have existed without the contributions of Professor Atsumu Miyazaki, who served as a standing trustee from the very beginning. I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude for his longstanding guidance and advice.
 And I would humbly pray for the repose of his soul.

Founded by Atsumu Miyazaki
「About the Fukuoka Prefecture Young Children’s Painting Exhibition」

Chairman, Fukuoka Prefecture Young Children's Art Education Workshop
Michio Aoki

 Professor Atsumu Miyazaki was passionate about fostering beauty from a young age.
 It was presumably this enthusiasm that led him to found the Fukuoka Prefecture Young Children's Art Education Workshop.
 Pictures express young children’s hearts, and the act of creating them fosters the heart. There are various ways young children express their thoughts and feelings, including through song, bodily expression, and language, but Professor Miyazaki asserted that pictures were the most appropriate means of expression.
 Professor Miyazaki’s enthusiasm spread like wildfire as he launched the Lake Shidaka Assembl y (later the Joshima Assembly ) in 1971, already trying to spread awareness of research into young children’s artistic creativity and the value of such activities, followed by the surge of young children’s art education and its evolution into the Kirishima Assembly in 1977 and the subsequent integration of all Kyushu into the Unzen Research Assembly in Nagasaki.
 After introducing the Kyushu Color Education Workshop in 1978, Professor Miyazaki established young children's artistic creativity as an area of research and proceeded to offer fun, practical guidance for kindergarten and daycare center courses.
 His dedication to young children’s artistic creativity gave rise to the First Fukuoka Prefecture Young Children’s Painting Exhibition in 1995, which sprung forth like magma from deep within the Earth.
 The exhibition sought to contribute to early childhood education by preparing children to participate in the Fukuoka Prefecture Elementary Students’ Painting Exhibition, for example by boosting interest in young children’s artistic expression, fostering their expressive skills, and cultivating rich aesthetic sensibility from the standpoint of early childhood and elementary education.
 Professor Miyazaki’s plan and its ambitious educational objectives spurred on this exhibition of young children’s art, which will be held for the 20th time this year.
 The event has consistently drawn more than 7,000 submissions of young children’s art each year since its first year. This achievement demonstrates how well the professor’s dedication to young children’s art has permeated teachers at the prefecture’s kindergartens and daycare centers.
 I often hear people describe how they hope the same urge to pursue beauty that Professor Miyazaki taught them will be fostered from children’s earliest years.
Going forward, we can only pledge to continue to work hard to spread this message.

Fukuoka Prefecture Elementary Students’ Painting Exhibition

Former Deputy Director-General, Fukuoka Prefecture Elementary School Painting and Craft Educational Workshop
Trustee, Matsumoto Culture-Art-Promotion Foundation
Kazuo Oba

 The Fukuoka Prefecture Elementary Students’ Painting Exhibition, which was launched in 1952, will mark its 63rd year this year. The event, which has more than half a century of history, has recently been held at the beginning of the year at Fukuoka Art Museum.
 As the government’s curriculum guidelines were being revised following the end of World War II, the Federation of Art Education in Japan held the first National Art Education Research Conference (now the National Art Education Federation ) in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, in October 1948, and the National Conference on Artistic Expression, Drawing, and Art Education Research (currently the Western Japan Conference) was held the following year, impacting postwar art education in Japan in a significant manner.
 In Fukuoka Prefecture, the Fukuoka Prefecture Drawing and Craft Workshop was launched in 1950, and preparations began for the Fukuoka Conference, part of the fourth National Art Education Research Conference, which was scheduled to be held the following year. Then, in 1951, elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, and colleges came together to host the Fukuoka Conference. I understand that Professors Mitsuharu Aoyagi and Takeshi Sasaki worked on planning and orchestrating the event, while Professor Atsumu Miyazaki presented proposals to the Art Appreciation Education Subcommittee.
 The first Fukuoka Prefecture Elementary Students’ Painting Exhibition, which brought together paintings, prints, and designs by young children from four districts in the prefecture, was held in 1952.
 At first, people including Professors Toru Saikoji, Kenzo Hayashi, and Masana Aono were invited by the central organization to serve as judges for the four districts. Later, members of Education Committees and professors from Fukuoka University of Liberal Education (now University of Teacher Education Fukuoka) were asked to serve as judges, but that role was gradually taken over by people who had experience working in each district.
 Due to the lack of a suitable exhibition venue, at first works of art were displayed on the walls of staircases at Hakata Daimaru, which opened in the Gofukumachi district of Fukuoka in 1953.
 Later, the venue was switched to Fukuoka Tenjin Daimaru, when Hakata Daimaru moved to Tenjin in 1975, and a special venue was set up on the eighth floor.
 With the advent of the Heisei era, the exhibition was held at Fukuoka Art Museum in FY2003. It subsequently moved to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, where it will be held this fiscal year for the 11th time.
 Awards ceremonies were originally held at Daimyo Elementary School or Gokusho Elementary School due to the lack of a suitable venue. Today, those ceremonies are held in Fukuoka Art Museum’s auditorium, although previously they were held on the 14th floor of the Nishinippon Shimbun Kaikan.
 As the number of sponsoring organizations has grown, a variety of school prizes have been created. Principals of prize-winning schools have been requested to attend the ceremonies, which have become increasingly formal.
 Generally speaking, the event has progressed and developed smoothly thanks to careful record-keeping and forecasting by the secretariat.
 This is the history of the Fukuoka Prefecture Elementary Students’ Painting Exhibition, and Professor Emeritus Atsumu Miyazaki of the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka has made an enormous contribution to the enhancement and development of the event, including by serving for many years as a judge, playing a key role in the establishment of the Matsumoto Culture-Art-Promotion Foundation, and calling for cooperation with the Fukuoka Prefecture Art Society.