Award-winning Works
Entertainment Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • ENDO Masanobu
    Game Creator and Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
    Admiration of Diversity in the Application of Technology
    his is the second time I have been a jury member. Last year, I was astounded by a confusion in the Entertainment Division I liken to different types of combat sports. Since my own career is based in the game industry, the concept of art is distant, and I struggled to draw a line between entertainment and art. Based on that experience, this year I approached my role as a juror by thinking of entertain- ment and art in terms of vector quantity, but many good gadgets did not t into either framework, and once again I came away wiser. Pechat is a game of make-believe that utilizes wireless technology, but it is also a tool that sparks creativity in the parent who uses it and has a dual aspect that can fool children to no end depending on how it is used. It is a heartwarming invention that will likely hold important memories of parent-child communication when children catch on as they get older, something like making a child believe in the existence of Santa Claus.MetaLimbs is a practical application of robotic arms, but its maneuverability has been improved through haptic technology. It portends expansion of the physical body on a level that inspires a physical sense of possession rather than simply a sense of agency. Though expression of utilization "similar to one's hands and feet" exists using various tools and vehicles, a sensation that is truly of one's own hands and feet has a high degree of entertainment quality. It is sure to be a huge hit if deftly incorporated into games such as superhuman sports.Qoobo is a wonderful concept of communicating something simply through the wagging of a "tail." The Grand Prize winner, The Last Guardian, also simulates the movements of an animal, and an identical experience can be actively obtained. Though senior citizens living alone have been reported to conduct daily conversations with household appliances that provide audio responses, Qoobo conjures soothing scenes that go beyond that and gives a hint of possible narratives that communicate with- out uttering a word.Every work is based on a perspective unique to Japan, and going forward there will undoubtedly be works that exceed expectations. The expression of entertainment changes with the times, but particularly in Media Arts, new technology births new possibilities and heretofore- unknown experiences. I look forward to the diversity of the artists' images to come.
  • SAITO Seiichi
    Creative Director and CEO, Rhizomatiks Co., Ltd.
    Entertainment That Makes the Unfamil- iar Familiar
    What is entertainment in this age? It is my job to think about that question every day, and this year I felt a considerable shift in the entries in the Entertainment Division. The Last Guardian, a game that is not a game, won the Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division, and I think other technologies have also transcended media and heretofore concepts and frames. New technologies give rise to various possibilities. Combining media, con- tents, technologies, methods, and narrative makes it possible to transcend time, place, experience, position, culture, industry, design, values, and sensations.In this year's entries there was a shift to technology for the purpose of creating experience, rather than tech- nology as the agent of expression that had been seen until now. I think that this shift, which also appeared in games, contents, and products several years ago, has finally emerged in the world after going through an incu- bation period that included development. I strongly feel that it is not a development stemming from utilization of brand new technology, but rather the arrival of an era when the advancement of technology and culture has been thoroughly transmitted back to society, and when true nature that should at times buck the trend and go analog is recognized.The winners of the Excellence Award include FORESTA LUMINA, which transformed a forest into hands-on contents with the power of media; INDUSTRI- AL JP, which changed PR for small-scale factories and manufacturing with a new musical approach; Pechat, which goes beyond the concept of a toy and intellec- tual education; and PaintsChainer, which integrated AI into online graphic creation. All of these have surpassed boundaries and are designs created based on an ideal through a kind of backcasting.I believe that entertainment is closer to our immedi- ate lives that expression of art, and that entertainment grants us a portal that facilitates access to what is unfamiliar to us. I think that people who create things in this age understand the unlimited possibilities of en- tertainment, and believe in the necessity of changes in patterns of thought that provide continuous updates and creation of contents that amaze many.
  • SATO Naoki
    Art Director and Professor, Tama Art University
    The Challenge of Establishing New Value Axes
    Last year, I wrote that I found myself wondering if the time for having a distinct entertainment division within Media Arts may have run its course. Beyond doubt, the establishment of "Media Arts" and the existence of "en- tertainment" both possess great energy. However, the issue would seem to be what it means to tie them to- gether and assess them, and what we attempt to derive from that.If artwork that has already gained the approval of many people is commercially successful and called amazing by all, what meaning is there in subsequent praise? However, following repeated and thorough discussions including that issue, offering a value axis that does not strive for singular distillation leaves us with the trial and error and different presentations of the diligent application of "entertainment as Media Arts" and "Media Arts as entertainment" that is occurring in this age. More than what value axis to endorse even if various value axes are being pursued, what roused in- tense discussion was the key point of whether sufficient achievement or persuasive problem presentation were accomplished, or whether the works fail to go beyond questions posed in the previous stage.Last year, I personally felt that I did not fully evaluate several works, but if the achievements and posing of problems truly point to the future, then going forward, that will surely become evident in some shape or form. Jury members strive as much as possible not to over- look that aspect and should push toward demonstration of results, but detection at the germination stage is difficult. At any rate, right now we are witnessing the challenge of establishing new value axes. Discussions on ways of leveraging technology have naturally be- come discussions involving the quality of behavior and human emotion at the time of contact. It goes without saying that the variety and caliber of the submitted works made that possible. I am very much looking for- ward to what comes next.
  • NAKAGAWA Daichi
    Critic, Editor
    The Future of Entertainment, Integrating into Everyday Life
    Following the award winners of last year's celebratory turning point, I wondered what kind of explorations in the current era would begin in this year's art festival, which raises the curtain on a new period. This was my first time participating on the jury, and I faced a myriad of media entries while personally being strongly con- scious of this quiet run-up period coming immediately after this new beginning.The turning point, of course, does not simply refer to the Japan Media Arts Festival being held on more than 20 occasions. There was a tremendous impact in 2016 when a collection of contents brought about a suc- cession of social phenomena that achieved innovation in the span of post-war cultural history, including the Grand Prize winner, SHIN GODZILLA, the Excellence Award winner, Pokémon GO, and in the Animation Divi- sion, Your Name.Therefore, in contrast to the previous year, I felt that assessments needed to carefully consider the latent value behind the work and evaluate based on criteria that is as pluralistic as possible without relying this year on easy-to-understand topicality.Consequently, I feel that this year's winners showed a tendency toward both ends of the spectrum.While there is no significant transformation in the framework of conventional expression, the contents are of a type that attains a unique "style" of perfection by mastering the refinement of subject matter and tech- niques. This includes the Grand Prize winner, The Last Guardian, the Excellence Award winners, INDUSTRIAL JP and FOREST LUMINA, and the New Face Award win- ner, The Blind Fish.On the other hand, although some pieces lack refinement and intensity as isolated contents, they in- spire the possibility of transforming existing expression frames through new utilization of slightly polished tech- nology in the form of a general tool or platform (rather than as a possible, art-like imaginary world). The Excel- lence Award winners, Pechat and PaintsChainer, and the New Face Award winners, Dust and MetaLimbs fall into this type.The major directionality of entertainment history in the 21st century is basically evident. It is a trend in which the simultaneous enjoyment-type/mass distri-