An Enduring Heritage

Background and History

Shiga Prefecture, in central Japan, is well known as the home of Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa. The residents of this “Lake Country,” which is replete with rice paddies and surrounded by mountains, have long maintained a way of life intimately connected to water and the natural environment. In addition, being advantageously located at the crossroad of east and west Japan, Shiga has been a traditional place of exchange for people, goods, and ideas. It is amidst these circumstances that Shiga has developed a rich historical and cultural heritage.

The Shiga Prefecture Cultural Promotion Foundation is a public-service foundation founded in April of 1970 with funds from the prefectural government. Since its foundation, it has operated Shiga Hall (1970-), Kibougaoka Cultural Park (1972-), and various prefectural cultural facilities throughout the prefecture: the Nagahama Center for Culture and the Arts (1975-2006), the Adogawa Center for Culture and the arts (1979-2005), the Yokaichi Center for Culture and the Arts (1981-2005), and the Minakuchi Center for Culture and the Arts (1983-2006).

Since April of 1988, the Shiga Prefecture Cultural Promotion Foundation has also operated the Shiga Citizens’ Theatre for the Arts, a facility focused on the creation and transmission of culture, and the Shiga Theatre for Cultural and Industrial Development, a facility dedicated to the revitalization of traditions and culture from the northern Lake Biwa area.

Activities

1. Introduce the natural environment, culture, and fine arts of the “Lake Country” throughout Japan

We raise awareness and appreciation for the unique art and culture of the “Lake Country” and cooperate with NPOs, universities, businesses, and the media to introduce Shiga throughout Japan and the world.

2. Create environments conducive to the development of sound character development and creative ability in youth

We work closely with schools and communities to create environments conducive to participation in cultural and life-long learning activities. Through this, we strive to deepen children’s understanding of and interest in Shiga’s natural environment, history, traditional culture, and way of life; raise pride in local communities; and foster the development of sound character and creativity.

3. Provide education and support for culture and the arts of the “Lake Country”

In addition to planning open cultural and life-long learning activities and creating opportunities for the public to develop their innate capabilities, we offer support to regional cultural activists, organizations, and educate individuals in how to support local culture and the arts.

4. Network with cultural and social education facilities to rejuvenate communities

We network with cultural halls, museums, and social education facilities within Shiga in efforts to enhance the abilities of their employees and other related individuals so that these places become strongholds for the creation, exchange, and transmission of art and culture; benefit from active information sharing; and are able to contribute to community rejuvenation.

5. Create user-friendly facilities

We advocate the creation of facilities that meet the needs of all prefectural residents regardless of age, gender, or physical ability. It is our goal to provide easy-to-use facilities and services that not only satisfy visitors, but facilitate interpersonal interaction and creative development.

6. Provide a cultural park where people can exist in harmony with the natural environment

We hope to provide a cultural park that serves the community as a therapeutic and relaxing living space while promoting personal growth and intimacy with nature.

New Approaches

We strive to promote traditional Japanese performance arts, revitalize traditional techniques and knowledge passed down from our ancestors, and provide opportunities for residents, particularly the young, to appreciate culture and the arts.

Through our support activities and educational events for children, such as traditional dance and music performances featuring subjects and artists related to Shiga, we also hope to establish pride in local communities and traditional ways of life.

In addition, as part of ongoing cultural promotion efforts, our foundation manages the Shiga Citizens’ Theatre for the Arts, the Shiga Theatre for Cultural and Industrial Development, and Kibougaoka Cultural Park. Here, we stage cultural events, including stage performances, exhibitions, and youth events at Kibougaoka Cultural Park’s three zones, which make use of the various features of these facilities.

Regular Projects

Publications

Kokoku to Bunka (The Lake Country and Culture)

Kokoku to Bunka (The Lake Country and Culture)

Introducing the culture, locales, and personalities of Shiga for 33 years. Issued in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Events

Shiga-ken Geijutsu Bunka-sai (Shiga Prefecture Art and Culture Festival)

We solicit works of art directly from prefectural residents for this popular annual festival.

Related Facilities

Shiga Citizens' Theatre for the Arts

The Shiga Citizens’ Theatre for the Arts strongly believes in the “sanpo yoshi” ideal of the Omi merchants, a belief that all business should serve the public good, and the principle of “onko chishin” (cherishing old knowledge while acquiring new). With these things in mind, the Shiga Citizens’ Theatre for the Arts strives to become a "Dream Center" for children, emphasizing cultural promotion and awareness activities and the collaborative creation of culture.

Shiga Theatre for Cultural and Industrial Development

The Shiga Theatre for Cultural and Industrial Development strongly believes in the “sanpo yoshi” ideal of the Omi merchants, a belief that all business should serve the public good, and the principle of “onko chishin” (cherishing old knowledge while acquiring new). With these things in mind, and with a special focus on cultural promotion and awareness activities, classical and traditional art, and art management education, the Shiga Theatre for Cultural and Industrial Development strives to be a specialty venue for traditional Japanese music and dance for the benefit of ensuing generations.

Kibougaoka Cultural Park

Kibougaoka Cultural Park stages nature-based activities designed to foster well-rounded character growth and interpersonal relationship development in children, the leaders of the future. Activities include the “Kibougaoka 100 Year Project” for environmental revitalization, nature walks, painting, hiking, and other outdoor experience events.

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