Berkeley Japan New Vision Award
The Berkeley Japan New Vision Award is a prize the Center for Japanese Studies awards to an individual who has, in recent times, dramatically transformed our vision of Japan.
2010-2011 Berkeley Japan New Vision Award
Recipient: Jero (Jerome White Jr.)
Part Japanese and part African American, Jero is enka's rising star ever since his hit single Umiyuki burst onto the charts in 2008. Winner of the 2008 Best New Artist Award at the Japan Record Awards and the 2011 Berkeley Japan New Vision Award, he has also regularly appeared on Japanese TV and commercials as well as performing at the prestigious New Year's Eve Kôhaku Utagassen concert twice.
Singing traditional Japanese ballads in an American idiom, not only has Jero rekindled an interest in enka among the younger generation of Japanese but he has also opened up the possibilities for fluent Japanese-speakers from around the world breaking into the entertainment and other industries in Japan. Given his mixed-race background, he has also become a symbol for the acceptance of a more multiethnic society for 21st-century Japan.
2009-2010 Berkeley Japan New Vision Award — inaugural
Recipient: Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Father and Letters from Iwo Jima depicted one of the most horrific WWII battles in the Pacific theater from both the American and Japanese points of view. Letters from Iwo Jima, based on letters written by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (portrayed in the film by Ken Watanabe), is the first major Hollywood film on the Pacific War that managed to portray the Japanese from the perspective of ordinary soldiers and as fellow human beings.