Study: Men Dominate Judges and Art Prize Winners

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A group seeking to end inequalities in the art world have found that judges and grand prize winners in the literary, theater, film and arts industries in Japan tend to be dominated by men.

The group of artists and directors, called Hyogen-no-genba-chosa-dan, announced on December 9 the interim results of their research into gender balance in the arts.

“It is significant that (the wide gender gap in various artistic awards) is clearly indicated in the numbers,” Chiki Ogiue, a popular commentator who participated in the research, said at a press conference today. the.

He said that although more women than men have been nominated for certain art awards, “those who do the evaluations are predominantly men and such a situation leads to more harassment in the art world” .

Hyogen-no-genba-chosa-dan previously investigated harassment in the art world. Today, he studies the gender gap in artistic awards as part of the group’s initiatives to eliminate inequalities in evaluation and awarding of prizes.

The prizes they sought were awarded between 2011 and 2020 in various fields of art.

Many of these awards are given to new writers or artists and are seen as stepping stones to success. The group calculated the average gender balance in each artistic field by examining data from the judges and winners of these awards.

The awards the group have sought include the Akutagawa Prize, the prestigious literary prize named after Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa, and the Kishida Kunio Drama Prize, which is awarded to a new playwright.

In eight awards given to writers, including the Akutagawa Prize, nearly 60 percent of the judges were men and 40 percent were women. More women than men won the awards in just two of the eight awards.

For three critics’ awards, including the Kobayashi Hideo Award, a well-known award named after the famous literary critic, nearly 100% of the judges and winners were men.

Just under 70% of the judges and top prize winners of the four artistic prizes, including the Shell Art Award, hosted by the Japanese oil company Idemitsu Kosan Co., were men.

For six theater awards, including the Kishida Kunio Drama Award, nearly 80 percent of the judges and nearly 60 percent of the first prize winners were men. In addition, 80% of the judges and winners of six film awards, including the Mainichi Film Awards, were men.

The group pointed out that in some awards, male-focused judging has normalized after being a long-standing practice.

Members believe that for some awards, gender inequality in judging and winners is institutionalized because the recipients of those awards historically later became judges of the same awards.

Hyogen-no-genba-chosa-dan will now extend its research to other artistic fields such as music, architecture and design. He plans to announce the final results around March of next year.


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