Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for Naomi Kawase

Thanks to your warm support, KAWASE received the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) from the French Minister of Culture.


May happy events
Pile up like snow
That is falling today
At the beginning of the New Year...

This poem celebrates the New Year and it is the very last poem of the 20-volume Manyoshu, the oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry dating back to the late seventh to eighth centuries. It was composed by Otomo no Yakamochi, a statesman and poet who served as the governor of Inaba province.

In ancient times, the snow that falls over new years was believed to bring some good fortunes.

On the New Year's day, my hometown and the original ancient capital of Japan, Nara, was covered all white with snow, just like the poem by Otomo no Yakamochi,

First and foremost, I would like to express my utmost gratitude for all the support.

At the age of 18, I encountered cinema. Since then, I have devoted myself into the world of filmmaking. In return, cinema has brought me the life filled with encounters, lessons, and above all, love to celebrate and share with others.

I find filmmaking very similar to living one's life, in which we all struggle and appreciate the essences of both sadness and happiness equally.

As a filmmaker, what I have been exploring in cinema is to carefully be in touch with the subtleness of human emotions, which often resonates with the surrounding nature and interrelates to our life.

The world around me is small, but I've always believed, if I keep exploring this small universe around my life and keep digging into the earth underneath my own feet, one day, I would come across to the other side of the world, where I find my ways to connect even with the people of different values and thoughts.

As an artist, I still have a long way to go. However, receiving this honor has brought me the light that encourages me to keep walking on my path for my further exploration.

I would like to extend my respect to the country of France for recognizing diverse cultural and artistic values.
There is no word for me to express how honorable to receive such decoration.

If there is one thing I can do to give back for the honor I have received today, it is to commit myself to continue making and sharing my works, with my hope to leave something meaningful for humanity regardless of any boundary and difference.

With my greatest honor, I receive this Order with humility.

Thank you.

Naomi Kawase

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You can watch the clip from the ceremony