Award-winning Works
Entertainment Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • YONEMITSU Kazunari
    Game Designer
    Leaving Home an Hour Early
    In the chaotic, extensive categorization that is Media Arts - even dissembled into the seemingly further refined category of the Entertainment Division - the chaos and extensiveness never straightens out, artworks protruding out of categories as diverse as video, video games, websites, and apps. Having gone beyond the bewilderment we faced when the festival guidelines were first set up, pondering how these works can be compared with each other and whether it is even possible to make distinctions of "Grand Prize" and "Excellence Award", one now approaches the judging seriously, reminding oneself how dangerous questions like "What are Media Arts?" and "What is Entertainment?" are.
    Ingress swept us all away and the Jury was unanimous in awarding it the Grand Prize. Using GPS, it transforms our actions in the present by overlapping reality with a virtual world. You end up leaving home an hour early in order to "hack" the "portals" located around you. Playing the game means you ultimately learn a lot about the various sculptures in a park or that Jizo statue in a back alley. The game isn't completed by your brain, fingertips and display; you leave the house and head into the city, using your body to develop the gameplay. It brings together the mental, the technical, and the physical.
    Noramoji Project is also hyper stimulating, an endeavor to go out into the community, find the things you previously always overlooked, and then expand them. Dear integrates personal information into fiction, and then jumps out into the real world when it becomes an actual book. These works are not simply returned to reality by the viewer; the works directly incorporate reality - their ability to engulf players in each world is electrifying. Kuchisaki-bancho (Word Leader) constructs original rules that expand wordplay games. P.T. attempts to create a fully playable trailer for a product. LOST DIMENSION makes you want to know what will happen next. YO-KAI WATCH 2 Ganso/Honke (tentative title) takes place in a remarkable city setting.
    I could sense the quality of the video games and the verve of the diffusion of genre. I felt hope in entries so numerous and manifold that they almost seem to make judging categories meaningless.
    Designer and Creative Director
    From the Intelligent to the Physical
    Media art methods and expression has passed through all manner of experiments of trial and error from the second half of the twentieth century to the present. Eventually it has been consumed and in recent years suddenly arrived at commercial use. Now many things are being produced which attempt to attract attention through gimmicks on a grand scale.
    On the other hand, under the surface we can clearly start to see signs all over of new endeavors by individuals and small groups. This is a new phase by those who do not distinguish between digital or analog, who share openly, the generation for whom the Internet and mobile communication technology has been with them from the start.
    This year's entries reflect that situation today. And many of the most notable works share something. What was it? Grand Prize-winner Ingress, while taking the form of a game where you attempt to win territory, also integrates actual geography and information spaces, becoming a medium for drawing people into the real field actualized with in. Kintsugi, 3RD, Noramoji Project and handiii are also themed around how we treat reality, and likewise the three New Face Award winners present a kind of physical substance or the reality that exists there.
    Against the circumstances of the times, we are starting to return human behavior, feelings, and creation to a reality rooted in the physical. Even if primitive in terms of mechanisms, we are heading from demonstrations of how to use new technology towards expression in the true sense of the word.
    While the definitions and boundaries between art and commercial media are becoming ambiguous and meaningless, much of contemporary art today, in complicity with the gallery system, is transforming into gadgets that satisfy our material desires in the same way as classical visual art. And yet here many "new somethings" have been presented. It was both exciting and hopeful.
  • KUBOTA Akihiro
    Artist and Professor, Tama Art University
    The Power of Design
    The Entertainment Division seems to symbolize the recent diversity of media, from video games to video work, gadgets, apps, and websites. As a characteristic from this year's entries, the first thing I would like to proffer is the increased volume and quality of the video works. Today YouTube and Vimeo have surpassed television to become the video medium of the norm, and the accessibility of video for ordinary people has greatly improved. In the same way that children acquire language from their environment, so too are today's youngsters (tacitly) acquiring a video language from their surroundings. The "digital native", as seen from the perspective of Media Arts, could also be called a "video native".
    Another point to raise is that the diversity of the Award-winning Works in the division is connected by design, something not specified under the ambit of the Japan Media Arts Festival. This year's Entertainment Division Grand Prize-winner Ingress is of course a video game, but simultaneously also an app and a website. There all the perspectives of design are included. From video game design to app and web design - consolidating all these diverse media could also form a generic label for design. And this is not limited to Ingress. Excellence Award-winner Noramoji Project also, in the same way as Ingress, is street design connecting a region with the world, and also a downloadable font and elaborately made website. It is an example of superb design for the zeitgeist and for regular citizens, not only designers.
    If the keywords distinguishing design today are "open", "social" and "hybrid", then New Face Award-winner Auto-Complain is truly a classic case. Students often talk about using design in art or art in design, but design is simultaneously a means for reaching the intended expression as well as a guideline. The most prominent design award in Japan today is actually here in the Entertainment Division of the Japan Media Arts Festival.
  • UKAWA Naohiro
    Genzai (Contemporary) Artist and Professor, Kyoto University of Art and Design and Representative, DOMMUNE
    The Pulse of Alternative Futures
    Just what are Media Arts? The more you examine the entries, the less you understand - it's overwhelming. Viewing the torrent of hundreds of works, the mind is painted in the colors of the Media Arts world, and then something emerges on the horizon. Not media or technology; it's raw humanity. Listen carefully and we can hear the breathing of the artists, the scent of the artists remaining as glimpses. Look through this and the stains and marks emerge...
    The gaze and ideas of artists become the light of creativity, transcending technology. New media and novel technological inventions are tools for the masters of creativity to use, no more than vessels. From rock art to cave paintings, the Nazca Lines and the pyramids, these are all examples of primeval media art that has carried mythology. Since long ago media and technology have been merely one tool for making the imagination concrete. And with imagination, the most important ability for new media art is being able to realize creativity, that is, the future.
    I want you to feel this diverse set of award-winning entries. GOSHIMA Kazuhiro's This may not be a movie, which invented a camera-cum-projector using optical fibers. Sensing streams - invisible, inaudible by SAKAMOTO Ryuichi and MANABE Daito, which senses, visualizes, and auralizes electromagnetic waves. Ingress by Google's Niantic Labs integrates a virtual world inside a game with the real world using GPS and global maps. Noramoji Project attempts to preserve the handwritten words on regional shopping arcade signboards. Here beats the pulse of a group of alternative futures that have easily knocked down our stereotypes of the future.
  • IIDA Kazutoshi
    Game Creator and Professor, College of Image Arts and Sciences, Ritsumeikan University
    Gossip, Scandal, and Entertainment
    In the mature information society of today, the negative entertainment of gossip and scandal has become normalized. This has been particularly prominent in Japan this year. Something happens and instantly captures people's attention, with the change in situation shared in real time. There is an attraction here that is hard to resist. As an artist I find something discomforting about creating work in such an environment. In short, this is the question of whether or not fiction whose departure point is an individual's imagination can oppose such a phenomenon where mass media and Internet interlock, and the complexities of reality short-circuit. Through the judging for this year's festival, once again I came into contact with many works. What I could feel there was that, rather than stumbling over this issue, the superb works of entertainment were actually looking ahead to the reality to come.
    In both Ingress and Noramoji Project, many players come and go across the Web and reality to discover and create new values. Those values exist on a different axis to the economic cycle of manufacture and consumption. Moreover, they are gently suggesting that globalization and localization are not simply opposing concepts. handiii and Kintsugi, on the other hand, are bold attempts to convert enforced inconvenience and the loss of a body part into fun for the user and creator. Both works, while simultaneously nullifying the word "deficiency", cut deeply into our notions of the body. As artificial intelligence draws ever closely, this will surely develop as an important inquiry.
    This year there is once again a strong representation of video works. Video artists have likely been able to retain the image frame for their output. When played, this might be a screen or it might be a mobile device. It has laid bare how consequently a work comes about through the complicity of artist and audience.
    On reflection, the Media Arts are expanding alongside technology, continuing to defy definition. And I have a hunch that this fluidity will outstrip negative entertainment.