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Gerhard Wiesheu from Metzler Bank presents the NIPPON CINEMA AWARD

On May 29, 2016 at the Mousonturm cultural center in Frankfurt/Main, the winners of the16th Nippon Connection, the world’s largest festival for Japanese films, were announced for the various categories. The most prestigious award, the NIPPON CINEMA AWARD, presented for the twelfth time, worth EUR 2,000 and donated by Metzler Bank in Frankfurt/Main, went to the comedic gangster film RYUZO AND THE SEVEN HENCHMEN by Takeshi Kitano. Of the 15 entries for the award, this film proved to be the audience favorite. Based on his favorite topic, the world according to yakuzas, Kitano portrays the problems of an ageing society with a satirical touch, thus going back to his comedic roots. Since the director was unable to come to Frankfurt/Main, Shozo Ichiyama from the Office Kitano production company accepted the trophy and certificate on his behalf from Gerhard Wiesheu of the festival’s sponsor Metzler Bank. In his short speech held in fluent Japanese, Mr. Wiesheu thanked the volunteer festival team and festival director Marion Klomfaß for their tremendous hard work and emphasized what a great honor it is for the Metzler Bank to continue its support for the festival. A complete list of the award winners can be found at: www.nipponconnection.com.

In his speech at the Metzler reception prior to the awards ceremony, Gerhard Wiesheu, Member of the Partners’ Committee B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co. Holding AG and responsible for the bank’s business in Japan, marked the tenth anniversary of Metzler Bank’s involvement in the Nippon Connection by recalling its beginnings. The first time he met festival director Marion Klomfaß, he was impressed by her enthusiasm for the project – and in retrospect, the decision to sponsor the Nippon Connection on a long-term basis has proven to be a huge success. According to Wiesheu, the festival team’s hard work proves once again that relations between different countries and cultures are often sustained by the commitment of private individuals. After his address, Yoshitaka Tsunoda, Deputy Consul General of Japan in Frankfurt/Main, stressed in a speech held in admirable German the importance of the Nippon Connection film festival as a model project for successful cultural exchange between Japan and Germany – and pointed out the ever-greater international importance of the festival. The fact that the Japanese TV network NHK World intends to broadcast a special on Nippon Connection this year underlines this importance.

Afterwards, sword dancing master Taro Nashiba impressed the audience with a breath-taking Kenbu performance. Kenbu is an ancient Japanese art of dancing to poems and traditional music that tells a story using a sword and folding fans. Following this artistic treat, there were plenty of culinary treats for the 150 guests at the Mousonturm cultural center: a rich sushi buffet, a wide selection of sake and much more.

At the 16th Nippon Connection, more of the events were sold out than ever before. From May 24–29, over 16,000 people attended more than 100 film screenings and other wide-ranging events offered by Nippon Culture.

The 17th Nippon Connection festival will be held from May 23–28, 2017 at the Mousonturm cultural center and other venues and will once again be entirely dedicated to Japanese (film) culture.