Petition to Save Hiroshima FestivalAuthor: ASIFA International | Date: 12/22/20, 6:54 PM
To ASIFA Members and the Animation Community:
In November, news broke that the long-standing Hiroshima International Animation Festival was ending due to the dissolvement of the partnership between the city of Hiroshima and ASIFA-Japan. This news comes as a shock and surprise to ASIFA and animators everywhere who have known Hiroshima Festival as one of the most prestigious and historical animation festivals.
The ASIFA Board has prepared a petition to the Mayor and City Council of Hiroshima, who terminated the partnership in order to replace the festival with a more commercially oriented art festival. The loss of a festival that uplifted cultural and artistic values, drawing international visitors from around the globe and introducing them to Japanese culture and hospitality with “no strings attached” is indeed significant.
We ask our members and other supporters of the Hiroshima Festival to add their signature to the petition, which will be delivered to the Mayor and City Council along with a letter from the ASIFA Executive Board.
The petition will remain open to signatures until the end of February. Additionally, the animation community is invited to send their own personal letter in support of the festival to the Mayor of Hiroshima at the address below, used for public correspondence.
Petition Text: For 36 years the biannual Hiroshima International Animation Festival was highly appreciated by the worldwide animation community as one of the few, most important animation festivals, commensurate with Annecy, Zagreb, and Ottawa. Its special quality was based on the tradition of unparalleled hospitality, organization and professionalism, as well as the consistent embracing of new tendencies and developments in animation.
Recently the city of Hiroshima decided to end this successful cooperation and to replace it with a commercialized art festival designed to attract tourists and commercial vendors. The international animation community is devastated to lose such a long-standing platform for independent voices in animation and for facilitating peace and cultural exchange through the art of animation.
Established and sustained through a cooperation between the city of Hiroshima and ASIFA-Japan, officially endorsed by ASIFA International, the Association Internationale du Film d’Animation, it was successfully and sensitively headed by festival director and ASIFA president/ ASIFA-Japan president, Sayoko Kinoshita. Hiroshima festival is an example and model for many other festivals worldwide, transporting Japanese culture and welcoming attitude all over the world. By signing this petition you can support the continued cooperation of ASIFA, ASIFA-Japan and the city of Hiroshima for offering the Hiroshima International Animation Festival.
Letter from ASIFA Executive Board to Mayor of Hiroshima
ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE DU FILM D'ANIMATION
Mr. Kazumi Matsui
Mayor, City of Hiroshima
Hiroshima City Hall
1-6-34 Kokutaiji-cho, Naka-ku
Hiroshima 730 8586 Japan
Dear Honorable Mayor,
We have heard the news that the City of Hiroshima decided to end the cooperation with ASIFA and ASIFA Japan on the organization of Hiroshima International Animation Festival after 36 years. We have also heard that you plan to start the new cultural event to be organized by Hiroshima people, aiming for more economic effect, as well as tourism promotion. We well understand and respect your motives. But, at the same time, we are very disappointed and discouraged.
Please allow us to offer our arguments in favor of the continuation of this extremely successful and fruitful cooperation.
Hiroshima International Animation Festival founded in 1984 by Renzo and Sayoko Kinoshita and organized by ASIFA Japan and Sayoko Kinoshita as the festival director, is presently the only international animation festival officially approved and endorsed by ASIFA, the International Animated Film Association. Following the highest quality standards stated in the ASIFA International Competitive Festival Rules, this manifestation has spread the spirit of Hiroshima as well as Japanese culture and art all over the animation world. It has been the model and example for other festivals worldwide, as the festival not only was based on profound traditional know-how, but also was constantly open to include new tendencies and developments in the field of animation. Besides the perfect organization, it succeeded in achieving two important goals – it promoted the art of animation and, at the same time, attracted a wide domestic and international audience. The name of Hiroshima is connected with highest quality and perfection in every sense and this is the value that counts more than anything else.
We hope the city leaders will recognize that exactly with the continuation of the traditional Hiroshima International Animation Festival led by ASIFA Japan under the endorsement of ASIFA, the city of Hiroshima gets more visibility and reputation than with any potential commercial event, many of which we can see all over the world.
We kindly ask you to reconsider your decision.
ASIFA Executive Board:
Deanna Morse, Vice President
Thomas Renoldner, Vice President
Johnchill Lee, Vice President
Mohamed Ghazala, Vice President
Stefan Stratil, Treasuer,
Vesna Dovniković, Secretary General
5th December, 2020
We regret to announce that the International Animation Festival in Japan – HIROSHIMA (henceforth “Hiroshima Festival” or “the festival”), which we have held with the city of Hiroshima for 36 years beginning in 1984, came to an end after its 18th edition, which took place in August 2020.
The city of Hiroshima took this decision without first consulting any of us at ASIFA (International Animated Film Association) and ASIFA-JAPAN (ASIFA’s Japan branch). We regret that the city ended Hiroshima Festival without discussing the matter with either ASIFA, which co-founded and officially endorsed the festival, or ASIFA-JAPAN, which co-founded and co-organized it.
Hiroshima Festival was established in 1984 in the spirit of “Love and Peace.” It was born of a vision shared by the city of Hiroshima, which wishes for lasting peace, and ASIFA, which aims to spread international friendship and understanding by advancing the art of animation. At the outset, we agreed with the city that we would hold the festival uninterruptedly, placing the art of animation at the heart of our vision to create an “artistic and cultural forest” in Hiroshima, which seeks to be a city of international peace and culture in the truest sense.
In 1985, we held the first edition of the festival to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the bomb. Beforehand, Mr. Takeshi Araki, then mayor of the city of Hiroshima, asked ASIFA to endorse the festival; ASIFA did so on the condition that ASIFA-JAPAN would be involved with the running of the event as co-organizer. Ever since, the city and ASIFA-JAPAN have held the festival every other year in the spirit of “Love and Peace,” while observing ASIFA’s rules. In doing so, they have drawn acclaim from around the world; Hiroshima Festival has become a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards and Annie Awards, and has come to be known as one of the world’s “four great” animation festivals.
However, in November 2019, the city of Hiroshima declared out of the blue: “Hiroshima Festival will cease to exist in its current form after its 18th edition. In 2022, the city will launch a new ‘general arts and culture event’ [provisional title], which will feature animation. But ASIFA (and ASIFA-JAPAN) will not be involved.”
As newspapers and other media have reported, the city of Hiroshima has said that it wants its new “general arts and culture event” to “boost the number of visitors to Hiroshima, stimulate the local audiovisual content industry, revitalize the economy, and promote tourism.” Yet Hiroshima Festival, while serving as an international film festival, has also been contributing to tourism and providing cultural and educational opportunities to young people from the area. It seems that, rather than spread the message of “Love and Peace” to the world as a city of international peace and culture, the city of Hiroshima has chosen to go further than before in prioritizing financial gain.
The city has also said that it will hold animation competitions and programs as part of this “general arts and culture event.” But these will have nothing to do with past editions of Hiroshima Festival — they will be a completely different event.
People around the world are telling us that they hope the International Animation Festival in Japan, as endorsed by ASIFA and led by ASIFA-JAPAN, will continue. Your words give us great encouragement. We will continue to do our utmost to meet your expectations.
Finally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for all your warm support and friendship so far.
Note: On December 18, 2020, the city of Hiroshima revealed that its ‘general arts and culture event’ will be called ‘Hiroshima kokusai heiwa bunka-sai,’ which translates as ‘Hiroshima International Cultural Festival of Peace.’
Sayoko KINOSHITA,ASIFA President/ ASIFA-JAPAN President
Yuichi ITO,ASIFA-JAPAN Board Member
Koji YAMAMURA,ASIFA-JAPAN Board Member
Hiroshi ONISHI,ASIFA-JAPAN Board Member, Project Team
Kiyoshi NISHIMOTO,ASIFA-JAPAN Board Member, Project Team
Makiko NAGAO,ASIFA-JAPAN General Secretary, Project Team
Kohei OTSUKA,ASIFA-JAPAN Project Team
Kotaro SATO,ASIFA-JAPAN Project Team
Tetsuo NAGASHIMA,ASIFA-JAPAN Project Team
Takashi FUKUMOTO,ASIFA-JAPAN Project Team
Noritaka MATSUNAGA,ASIFA-JAPAN Project Team
Dai YAGI,ASIFA-JAPAN Project Team
… and all ASIFA-JAPAN members who support us
January 10th, 2021