Award-winning Works
Entertainment Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • YONEMITSU Kazunari
    Game Designer
    Everything in the World Is Entertainment
    These works of art are beyond the chaotic and unregulated categorization known as the Entertainment Division. That feeling has become stronger than last year, increasing the confusion and difficulties in comparing the incomparable and distinguishing the Grand Prize from the Excellence Award. Let's first be pleased with it. For it is fine for entertainment to be distantly aloof from such things as belonging to an existing order or being clearly useful and efficient for the society. For people and events trapped in midst of the system, it is hope that entertainment will bring pleasure even to them. It is fine if entertainment has no practical purpose other than to be amusing: There is a power in the abstract composition of Dark Echo, to make the player peek into the abyss of imagination by creating fear and fiction; the future is signaled by a robot which turns its weakness of plotting to coexist with man into an advantage in Drawing Operations Unit: Generation 1; the naturally produced pleasure and enjoyment of Solar Pink Pong is achieved by creating rules on streets with sunlight; the powerful feeling of being immersed and led into the depths of meditation unfolds in Prune through the abstract developments; the willpower to not synchronize with the groove in Thumper; the story that delivers the vivid body of hottamaru days; the sharpness of the interface in Black Death; the impressive way Zoom in Face is able to make us smile; the amazing simplicity of how Stand Book App brings people together; the power to realize a challenging idea in group_inou "EYE"; we liked "sushi-kun" in the Let's go! waku-waku park; we hope 2.5 Dimension Mask will continue to evolve; the meticulous making of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls; the pleasures of interacting with animation in Plug & Play; and there are many others. Finally, Best way for counting numbers, which has the power to wrap them all together, and demonstrates the power of attraction and symbolism. Excitement heightens as we imagine a future where entertainment penetrates all corners of the globe, surfacing in all sorts of places.
    Designer and Creative Director
    That Which Has Surfaced into the Rest-like Space before a Change of Key
    Technology and the state of the world in which we live, as well as human creativity and imagination, have continuously competed amongst each other over time. The possibility of new expression, and breakthroughs in status quo, comes about through the advent of new technology and tools. Born from this new situation is a new mood, a new common sense, a new theme. Once they have become penetrating and mature, a counter-expression appears. These then become stylized and turn obsolete. When such stagnation becomes apparent, once again new social and technological developments occur...
    It is within this cycle, while viewing this year's group of works, that one feels a sort of ripple heralding a period of transition.
    Methods which until now were deemed new, through which much progress was made, have gradually come to stand out more as commercial reproductions. Rather than struggling to seek something new while assuming the risk, it feels as if they are being created as measures influenced by trends. That, in our society (especially in Japan), is superimposed with the recent events, when the social aspects of the creative industry, and attitude, morals, and responsibility of creators were called into question. The way of a commercial creator, and the generation of youth seeking real and compelling themes, all exist together while also being antithetical to each other.
    It is in this vein that the Award-winning Works were a happy encounter, one full of discovery and infused with the uncommon energy of the creator.
    Moreover, the continuous creative activity resulting from the firm and unshakable will of the individual could be seen, surfacing like colors seeping through the backside of a cloth. Best way for counting numbers, the recipient of the Grand Prize, while colorfully incorporating the elements of different ages, enabled us to rediscover that expression and creation, after all, result from the "resoluteness of the individual", and that they can be imbued with a universality.
  • KUDO Takeshi
    Curator, Aomori Museum of Art
    Works That Foreshadow the Future
    How should a museum curator, with limited proficiency in cutting-edge technology and technological trends, be involved in the screening process for the Entertainment Division? As the preferred format for the information society shifts to smartphones, the Internet, and SNS, the "connection" between human and new media seems to still remain imbalanced in many ways. Human thoughts and behavioral patterns are becoming increasingly homogenous, and various problems arise when these tools are used for communication. Works submitted to the Entertainment Division utilize various media platforms, and since the concept of "entertainment" is ambiguous, the division presents itself as a "department store" for Media Arts. For these reasons, the only help I could offer was to discover works that make us reconsider and question the current situation surrounding the relationship between media and human from different angles. Putting themes and concepts aside, and disregarding the difference in production budgets and technical range of quality, we attempted to extract works that deal with digital media on a higher level, and reflect a balanced relationship between human and media. In hindsight, the number of works that associate with the infinite consciousness of those who live in the current times, and delicately respond to their needs, far exceeded our expectations. Problems that arose in 2015 surfaced as a number of common keywords that cut across genres of expression, revealing the fact that we are going through a large-scale transition, and that both human existence and the media environment are also in the midst of an extensive transfiguration. Since "entertainment" is destined to exist alongside consumption, the subject inevitably connotes the present moment. Ultimately, awards and recognition went to works that foreshadow the future within their captured sense of the "present moment". While the awarded works all share a sense of fascination that evoke instinctive pleasures, we hope that, within such colorful expressions, the audience will seize the opportunity to think about the future relationships between "self", "others", and "media".
  • UKAWA Naohiro
    Genzai (Contemporary) Artist and Professor, Kyoto University of Art and Design and Representative, DOMMUNE
    Fluids Seeping Through the Skin of a Studious Worker
    This was my third consecutive year to be part of the jury. It was a significant experience in which we witnessed the transition of the technological trend firsthand, a moment that was unique to the Entertainment Division. The 2045 problem on technological singularity is a popular topic of the current times. Yet, today is also a great time to inquire about the beauty that we, as human beings, must create, especially since artificial intelligence is now taking on creativity. The Grand Prize of this year is Best way for counting numbers by KISHINO Yuichi. KISHINO is an utterly studious worker who questioned the society by re-interpretating of marginal music through activities like "K-HIN Bros. Co." and "Manual Of Errors". He rediscovered the mischief of Japanese vinyl records as the pioneering un-official club DJ in "Gira Gira Night", and liberated the female sexuality that lies deep within male roots through improvisational performance in Hige no Mibojin (The Mustached Widow). For nearly thirty years, KISHINO and I have maintained a camaraderie, working on countless activities that contribute to the underground culture. While recommending a friend inevitably requires careful consideration, I had absolute confidence in his work. I would like to applaud this achievement with great admiration. My evaluation on Media Arts is based on whether the work captures the "intense struggle between technology and human capacity", a quality that pulsates in KISHINO's Best way for counting numbers.
    The street-performance-like shadiness, and the world in which alternative stand-up comedy explodes to renew the context of Tiny Tim and Pee-wee Herman, reminds us of Japan's experimental children's TV-shows. These include the silent innocence of the character Noppo-san in Dekirukana (Can we do it?), twisted inventions by the character "Waku Waku-san" in Tsukutte Asobo (Make and play), new wave experiment in Curriculamachine, and Ugo Ugo Ruga, which also functioned as a platform for graphic technology experiments. Although projection mapping or virtual reality technology do not appear on KISHINO's stage, it is overflowing with all the corporeal energy of this studious worker. This is Media Arts!
  • IIDA Kazutoshi
    Game Creator and Professor, College of Image Arts and Sciences, Ritsumeikan University
    Naked Expression, The Transition of Entertainment
    Beckoning us out onto the street to "Come out!" was last year's Grand Prize winner Ingress. Marking the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II, the acts of creative expressions indeed "came out". These were naked "expressions", or direct actions that did not take the form of an artwork. On September 14, 2015, a large group gathered in front of the Diet. It was not a scene one could ignore. "Information sharing", "open project", "big data": topics such as these have been the themes of the Entertainment Division these past few years. As a result, works that positively envision the symbiotic relationship between technology and humanity were appraised. However, the screening process, while feeling the presence of naked expressions, was a mentally challenging task, as the actual value and potentiality of entertainment were reconsidered time and again. It's possible that this is not only the case for just the Entertainment Division, but true of the screening processes in all divisions, especially when viewing the list of Award-winning Works. The Japan Media Arts Festival screening for each division is independently conducted, and the Award-winning works are not disclosed until the final announcement. For that reason, interference among divisions is not possible, but the connection and correlation between issues each jury most likely established in their minds can be seen through the works. One can say that this year's Japan Media Arts Festival produced a catalogue that can be deeply read in every way, making 2015 a special, transitional year.
    KISHINO Yuichi, whose Best way for counting numbers took the Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division, will probably keep on jovially singing "oppekepe oppekepe" nearby the public, rain or shine, not at all for money, and in spite of being told to stop being so noisy. KISHINO has been practicing this activity for decades. At long last, it has finally "come out" in the open. His blind, sincere persistence was necessary for the time to come for this work to be accepted as "appropriate". Such direct passion naturally involves the people around him. Before they know it, observers are likely to count along. It is the power of empathy rather than forced synchronization. That is the correct way. After KISHINO acknowledged his receival of the award during the press conference announcing the winners, I found myself saying "thank you" as he stood on the podium. Honoring the winners, the program was supposed to move onto the next scene. While it was an insignificant incident, it was also a scene that evoked anew the power of this artwork. Solar Pink Pong is also staged outside. The installed device perceives spaces and shoots out a pink circle. Those who become aware of it kick it like a ball, or enclose it in their own shadows, and begin to engage in lighthearted play. It is designed not as a game, but as a small form of play. Some people pass by, oblivious. This mixture is also correct. Drawing Operations Unit: Generation 1 was the most stimulating of the robotic arm creations. The trance-like state resulting from the automatic drawing creates a happy and sacred moment for the artist, but she is removed from it once she becomes conscious of her act. I would like to see with my own eyes how this robotic arm will evolve over generations. The intensity of creativity increases each year in the indie game scene, and is evident in the two works that received Excellence Awards, Thumper and Dark Echo. There is no strict definition of what indie games are, but what makes them unique is that they are developed on a small scale by a number of people. Also, indie game creators exhibit their work throughout the world, and further polish their creations through people they meet at such events. I encountered the members of Thumper twice this year, once in Kyoto and again in Makuhari. In selecting games, my personal rule is to give the highest evaluation to games that have been completed and are playable. At the time of judging, Thumper had only its first stage completed, but its members have said that the complete version will be released in 2016, and its irresistible attraction made me change my rules. I was personally conflicted, because it was not an easy choice. Starting with Black Death, which took a New Face Award, followed by serious contents such as ,em>Do you know the lifetime of nuclear power plants?, Tokyo Air Raids Oral History Map, OUT IN JAPAN, and PRY were listed naturally in the Entertainment Division. All these are forms brought about by naked expression that has evolved on the streets.