Award-winning Works
Entertainment Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


    Interface Designer / tha ltd.
    Setting the Audience
    Increasingly, our first opportunity to hear about a new work comes via the word-of-mouth of social networking sites. Our sense of distance from a work inevitably varies according to whether we experienced in real time a work appearing within our own timeline, or learned, after the fact, about a work appearing in some other, different cluster.
    In the Entertainment Division, the "softest" of the categories of the Japan Media Arts Festival, entertainment aimed squarely at a mass audience and entertainment aimed at only a small coterie of the creator's followers are lumped together without distinction.
    Which category a work of entertainment fits into is determined by its "audience setting": the type of audience the creator's work is intended for. With social networking and the diversification of relationships between creator and audience, the category "entertainment" is itself rapidly diversifying. That this is a process occurring in the present progressive tense was something we were frequently reminded of in our screenings.By giving the "artisans" of the Internet free virtual access to the mass-audience idols known as Perfume, the Grand Prize-winning Perfume "Global Site Project" gave birth to a phenomenon that was massive in scale. The Perfume motif, once the purview of a few professionals, was handed over to a large number of audience members turned "small creators," whose works in turn were broadcast to audiences of their own. In a brilliant example of "cluster-busting," this chain reaction expanded Perfume's audience beyond its previous idol-oriented base.
    I first saw the Excellence Award-winning Smart Trashbox on the Nico Nico Douga video-sharing site. What stunned me was the fact that the video, which introduces the process of making this very innovative device with the offhand words "I thought I'd give it a try," was first offered to the Nico Nico community, where it appeared in tandem with a flood of "Wow!"-type comments. The work's breakaway from the tacit "audience setting" of previous media/device works was itself a symbolic event.
    My impression from this, my first jury screening, was that the Entertainment Division offers a unique opportunity to line up and evaluate works like the above two -- occupying utterly different niches, yet both capable of illuminating aspects of the world today from fresh angles.
  • TERAI Hironori
    Creative Director
    Works that Respond to Primordial, Instinctual Images Dreamed by Everyone
    One lasting impression of this year's entries was that they are rooted in universal desires or instincts, yet sublimate these into new experiences and new creations reflecting the sensibilities of our times. I was amazed at the degree to which they earnestly addressed fundamental desires shared by everyone, not just the events or markets of last year.
    While exploiting the attributes of their respective media-- the web, video, gadgetry, games, stage presentations and so on -- it was clear that these artists did not rely solely on the novelty of new technologies, but aimed for a maturity of expression. The Grand Prize winner, Perfume "Global Site Project" (MANABE Daito, MIKIKO, NAKATA Yasutaka, HORII Satoshi, KIMURA Hiroyasu), was an expansive attempt to post a vast diversity of dance videos on the Internet by providing open-source data to stimulate the ambitions of numerous creators who would further stimulate one another. Excellence Award winner THE WARPED FOREST (MIKI Shunichiro), created with his own funding by a popular commercial director, became, as a logical consequence, a freewheeling film with everything thrown into it. The other Excel lence Award recipients were Smart Trashbox (KURATA Minoru), which showed the ultimate trashcan in operation; KURATAS (KURATA Kogoro, YOSHIZAKI Wataru), a robotpiloting dream come true; and GRAVITY DAZE (TOYAMA Keiichiro and the GRAVITY DAZE TEAM), a game that manipulates gravity, fulfilling the basic humanurge to fly.
    When viewing these award winners, the eye may at first be drawn to such superficialities as their cuttingedge tone or mode, but a closer look at each work reveals its solid grounding in universal dreams and desires. There, in our collective unconscious, we can see possibilities for the entertainment of the future.
  • KUBOTA Akihiro
    Artist and Professor, Tama Art University
    Entertainment= A Look into the Future
    Of the four categories in the Japan Media Arts Festival, the entertainment field, which is intimately linked with technology and industry, has seen changes occur at an especially rapid rate. Many of the works that were submitted in this category also provide us with a look into the future of media arts. The series of events and reactions that greeted the three-woman techno-pop group Perfume, who were awarded the Grand Prize in this year's event, are a perfect indication of the state of entertainment today. Per fume creates impressive expressions with their bodies and costumes by deftly utilizing motion-capture systems, distance sensors, and image analysis. But most remarkably, they also allow their fans to make free use of motion-capture data on a website called Perfume Global Site. What is evident in Per fume's activities, making them especially deserving of the Grand Prize, is the fact that the shared culture that has emerged over the last several years through the proliferation of social network services and creative commons licenses seems to have at last become linked to the world of economics and industry.
    There are also other works that splendidly combine hardware and software such as KURATAS, a huge engine-driven robot with a four-limbed human form; necomimi, which uses a Pop approach to link brain waves and gadgetry; OGATA Hisato's display at Tokyo SkyTree in which an ultra-massive, three-dimensional polygon is effortlessly manipulated; and Nukeme's Glitch Embroidery and IDPW's Whatever Button, which poke fun at the other side of digital fabrication and Facebook. The refreshing jumble of elements in these works, ranging from small to large and soft to hard and approaching the level of creative chaos, is particularly notable. In many of the works that use conventional media such as video or games, there is a distinct sense of rich, mature expression and subtle detail that also conveys the profound depth of this field. These works contain a glimpse of the future, and every one of the artists who participated in this year's event is helping to create the future of entertainment. Thank you for your efforts!
  • IWATANI Toru
    Game Creator and Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
    How to View the Present, How to Approach Art
    The notion that the chaotic state of the world, and a mood of anxiety in regard to an uncertain future, would be unduly reflected in this year's works proved to be utterly groundless. Young artists of today are full of vigor. What awed me about this year's submissions was the strength of the artists' creative spirit -- the determination to express themselves regardless of their circumstances -- and their acute ability to make sense of the "present" and boldly transform it into a work of art.
    Though the media arts tend to reflect the present without looking back at the past, we should bear in mind that general access to music as an art form began with the phonograph invented by Edison, which led to delivery media such as the record and CD. Similarly, computers and digital technology only now seem to be reaching their peak as entertainment media. It is as a natural part of this evolution that many of the creators who submitted their work this year are now in a position to create the future. Inevitably, then, they will be asked how they view the present and what attitude they bring to their art.
    I am reminded of the fact that the total data capacity for the early video game image and operation programs I was involved in making was a mere 5KB. This forced me to consider how I could incorporate the elements of play in the best and simplest way under extremely restricted conditions. As the maximum data capacity of the Blu-ray discs used for video games today is 25GB (5 million times more than 5KB), I cannot help but feel that users are being inundated with a flood of data. It is incumbent upon creators not to contribute to the atrophy of the inherent human ability to fill out images from limited information. Media-based entertainment has until now been a field that both creators and users could approach with a fairly relaxed attitude. But with the current availability of sophisticated media of expression employing image processing, sensor technology, and the like, creators will increasingly face expectations for "creation" in the truest sense of work that goes beyond mere entertainment to become something "significant."
  • ITO Gabin
    Editor / Creative Director
    Passion Burns Somewhere Today
    The Entertainment Division embraces a broad diversity of genres: web and video works, games and gadgets. After three years as a juror I can't help observing the ebb and flow of these various genres. This year it struck me that web-based works were in a slump, but that games have come of age.
    The web slump came as a surprise. The global trend away from paper toward the web (including ebooks) appears unstoppable, and the medium looks to be in great shape, not least in terms of the amount invested in web advertising. This year, however, there was a dearth of new ideas, with many works simply showcasing the connectivity made possible by social media. The one entry that expressed annoyance with that trend was the New Face Award-winning Whatever Button, which is, I believe, why it was regarded so highly.
    The maturation of the game genre was particularly salient among action role-playing and first-person shooter games. Game production techniques appear to be approaching perfection, with creators putting an impressive effort into scenarios, graphics, and playability. For better or worse, "novelty" is not the dominant theme of this market.
    The vicissitudes of different genres notwithstanding, however, the works selected for the Grand Prize and Excellence Awards were those that showed an intrepid willingness to take on new challenges. Perfume "Global Site Project" * skill fully incorporated creative efforts by consumers into the work; rather than simply highlight "connectivity" it produced an experience that actually connected people. *GRAVITY DAZE was arguably the only work in the game genre that genuinely offered a new game experience, while KURATAS and the Smart Trashbox were inventions redolent of the hopes and ambitions of their obsessively driven and technically skilled creators.
    The genres in the Entertainment Division will no doubt continue to ebb and flow. But ultimately, the inexplicable, reckless enthusiasms of individual creators will continue to generate the future. I hope that passion is burning brightly somewhere today.