190,000 pieces of artwork collected for the MOA Museum of Art’s National Children’s Art Exhibition


Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture
300 pieces of artwork by children from disaster-stricken areas, including “The Power to Live,” were on display

The 34th MOA Museum of Art National Children’s Art Exhibition was held at the MOA Museum of Art from December 29, 2023 to February 14, 2024. The exhibition featured 300 award-winning and works selected from 193,470 paintings and calligraphy works submitted from 298 venues both in Japan and overseas (including 28 venues in 11 countries overseas). During the period, many visitors were captivated by the fine pieces that showed the children’s rich sensibilities, such as “Healthy Fish in the Sea” by Hironori Sunagawa (1st grade, Okinawa Prefecture), who received the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award; and “The Will to Live” by Kanako Umemura (3rd grade, Ishikawa Prefecture), a child from the Noto Peninsula earthquake disaster area, who won the Boy Scouts of Japan Chairman’s Award in the calligraphy section.



The winning artworks can be viewed on the MOA Museum of Art Children’s Art Exhibition website.


The Award Ceremony was held at the Museum’s Noh Theater on January 28, and was attended by the winning children and their families. Following opening remarks by Kazumi Murose, representative director of the Mokichi Okada Art and Culture Foundation; Yasuyo Kobayashi, subject researcher at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Akio Tosa, assistant counselor to the counselor (in charge of project coordination) of the Child Development Bureau of the Agency for Children and Families; Yusaku Hiragata, director-general of the Agricultural Products Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Tsutomu Mizutani, head of the National Park Usage Promotion Office in the National Parks Division of the Ministry of the Environment’s Natural Environment Bureau, each praised the efforts of the children who took their time and care to create the artworks, and the support of the nationwide exhibition executive committee. The winning children enthusiastically received their certificates as their works were projected on the screen.



The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award School Encouragement Award was given to six schools, including Nirayama Elementary School in Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture; and the Cabinet Office Special Minister of State Award was given to two organizations, including the Mita Children’s Art Exhibition Executive Committee in Hyogo Prefecture. The winners also spoke about the thoughts they put into their artwork, the judges’ comments, and messages of encouragement from past winners.




You can watch the Award Ceremony here.


Kanako Umemura, who received the Boy Scouts of Japan Chairman’s Award, said, “I practiced writing ‘the will to live’ on Saturdays and Sundays, writing about 50 pages each. I was so happy when I received the certificate.” Her mother, Mutsuko, said, “The area where we live was hit hard by the Noto Peninsula earthquake, but we’re glad that our house was not damaged much, so we were able to come here safely. I felt more nervous watching my daughter receive her certificate and when she read her composition on stage. It was a difficult start to the New Year, but it turned out to be a bright and happy day. The words ‘the will to live’ that my daughter wrote are words of encouragement to us right now.”



Also coming to offer words of encouragement was Yuina Sugiyama (4th year university student) from Miyagi Prefecture. She won the MOA Museum of Art Special Encouragement Award for her work “Fireworks Seen Amid the Rubble,” which she submitted as a fourth grader in 2011, the year the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Award as she was a sixth grader for her work “Prayer: I will never forget that day.” She said, “I was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in the winter of my third year of elementary school. At first, I was unable to vent my indescribable sadness, pain, and anxiety, and I couldn’t even go to school. At that time, with the encouragement of my parents, I tried to draw a picture to express my feelings, which lightened my heart a little, and I was able to move forward little by little. That was the picture that was selected. I know it is still difficult for everyone in the areas affected by the Noto earthquake to recover, but I want them to know that they are not alone. I also hope that by turning my thoughts to art, such as communicating with the people around me and drawing, I will be able to cherish the feelings that inevitably become painful.”


The MOA Museum of Art’s National Children’s Art Exhibition is held based on the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s “Course of Study,” with the aim of cultivating emotional sensitivity and fostering abundant heart by encouraging children to express in painting and calligraphy the impressions and interests they have gained from interacting with nature, the environment, society, and other people. Supported by art-related volunteers from all over the country, the exhibition is highly regarded as an art exhibition that brings together schools, homes, and communities to contribute to the healthy development of children and the creation of a Healthy Mind and Body Community Enrichment.


Organized by the Mokichi Okada Art and Culture Foundation (MOA Museum of Art), supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of the Environment, the Agency for Children and home, the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, the National Council of PTAs of Japan, the National Federation of Children’s Clubs, the Boy Scouts of Japan, the Association of Japanese Abroad, the National Newspaper Business Council, and the National Association of Primary School Principals