Illustration Contest
Reconnect for tomorrow

For the Japan Festival 2022, we held an Illustration Contest with the theme of “Reconnect for tomorrow”. The first prize winner’s artwork has now become the key visual of this year’s festival.

Announcement of the winner 

The winner of our Illustration Contest is James Kok (14) from the Netherlands. Congratulations!

In James’ drawing, which he made with his favourite Japanese markers, you see Japanese and Dutch symbols and monuments next to each other. His inspiration was ‘to connect Japan and the Netherlands by putting the different cultures together in a drawing’. James’ work will now become the key visual of this year’s festival!

From among all the great works, the juries have chosen another work for the Jury Prize.

Our Jury Prize goes to Ms. Seb Cornelje from the Netherlands. Congratulations!

With this drawing, Seb wanted to express the relationship between Japan and the Netherlands by showing ‘two people, a Dutch woman and a Japanese woman, who make a “pinky promise” thereby committing themselves to connect for tomorrow/in the future’. The Dutch woman has traditional flowers in her hair, while the Japanese woman has a futuristic clip and a luminous flower in her hair. The Japanese woman’s outfit is traditional with a nod to the Dutch flag, while the Dutch woman is wearing a more minimalist/futuristic white robe in which the Japanese flag is well reflected. Seb is expressing a way to honour each other’s culture by letting both women proudly wear the (colours of the) flag of the other country.

Message from the chairman

Thank you very much for taking part in the Illustration Contest of the Japan Festival 2022. It was a high level competition and extremely hard for the juries to choose from among all the interesting works. In the end we chose James Kok (who is 14 years old!) as a winner, as he made a drawing which embodies “the joy of being reunited”, the essence of the theme of this year’s festival, combining the Dutch and Japanese cultures in a colourful and playful manner. Congratulations! Furthermore, we awarded the Jury Prize to the charming and skillfully drawn work made by Ms. Seb Cornelje, in which you see Dutch and Japanese people creating a bond of friendship with each other. I am grateful to all of you who joined the contest and look forward to ‘be reunited’ with you at the festival after a break of two and a half years. 

Kentaro Kubota
Chairman of the Japan Festival Foundation