Prof. Tokimasa Sekiguchi awarded the “Gloria Artis” silver medal

2015-06-22
Professor Tokimasa Sekiguchi was awarded the “Gloria Artis” silver medal. Minister Małgorzata Omilanowska will officially hand the medal during the ceremony that will take place on Monday, June 22, at 11.00 am at the International Cultural Centre, with which Professor Sekiguchi has for many years been linked through cooperation, as well as friendship.  

Professor Tokimasa Sekiguchi is one of the major translators of Polish literature into Japanese. Forty years ago, thanks to the scholarship of the Polish government, he started a two-year-long internship at the Jagiellonian University. The effects of this first stay and, as a result, of many years of Professor’s Sekiguchi’s subsequent work, were invaluable to Polish culture and its promotion. Suffice to mention the fact that for 25 years he was involved in the Japanese translation of Czesław Miłosz’s “History of Polish Literature”.

Professor Tokimasa Sekiguchi’s work had a fundamental impact on the promotion of knowledge of Poland and Polish culture in Japan over several decades. He translated into Japanese many important works of Polish literature and introduced to the Japanese readers major Polish authors, e.g. Czesław Miłosz, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, and Zbigniew Herbert. He also played an important role as an educator and promoter. Thanks to his work at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, there operates a lively centre for studies on Polish language, literature, and culture. Professor Tokimasa Sekiguchi has several followers of his work and research, who can play an important role in the development of Polish–Japanese relations in the future. Professor Tokimasa Sekiguchi has actively supported the developing studies on Japan and Japanese culture in Poland, collaborating with the University of Warsaw, the Jagiellonian University, the International Cultural Centre in Krakow, and MANGGHA Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Krakow.
His academic work includes publications on Polish literature and culture, as well as a number of translations of works of authors who belong to the canon of Polish literature: authors listed above, as well as Witold Gombrowicz and many others. He was also an initiator and coordinator of the project “Z uśmiechem po polsku” [“With a Polish Smile”] organised by Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, which resulted in the production of a communicative course book of Polish language for Japanese students.

Since 2008, Professor Tokimasa Sekiguchi has been a Japanese coordinator of seminars for Japanese researchers of the history and culture of Central Europe organised by TUFS and the International Cultural Centre. One of these seminars resulted in a Japanese translation of Adam Mickiewicz’s “Ballady i romanse” [“Ballads and Romances”]. At present, he is working on the translation of Bolesław Prus’s “Lalka” [“The Doll”]. The Minister of Culture awarded Professor Sekiguchi with “Gloria Artis” medal on the request of the International Cultural Centre.

Professor  Tokimasa Sekiguchi studied “the liberal arts” and French literature at Tokyo University (1970-1974); cultural studies and comparative literature at the Graduate School of Tokyo University (1974-1979); he was also on an academic internship at the Jagiellonian University (1974-1976). Professor Sekiguchi worked at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, where in 2001 he became the Professor of Polish Culture, while since 2002 he worked as Associate Professor. He was also a lecturer at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, University in Kumamoto, Yale University and University of Warsaw. From 2000 to 2004 he was a vice-president of “Bristol” Association of Polish and Foreign Teachers of Polish Culture and Polish Language as a Foreign Language. At present he is a Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Up to now Professor Sekiguchi has been awarded with several distinctions in Poland, including Zasłużony dla Kultury Polskiej (1998), the Diploma of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland for the contribution to the promotion of Poland in the world (2007), Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2009).

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