Purpose for Establishing the “SAKAI Peace Contribution Award”
Creation of the SAKAI Peace Contribution Award
Since the close of the 20th century, which has been dubbed the “century of war,” global efforts have continued to make the 21st century the “century of peace and human rights.” However, the world today still generates endless economic, cultural, religious and ideological disputes and conflicts, and there are numerous countries and regions where people’s lives, physical well-being and dignity are threatened by political turmoil, starvation, poverty, displacement, human rights violations and environmental destruction.
This is a major concern for Sakai City as a member of the international community in an age of increasing globalization, and Sakai recognizes that it has an obligation to play whatever role it can in addressing these problems.
Sakai is arguably the only Japanese city whose development from ancient through modern times has been driven by the spirit of freedom and self-governance.
In ancient times Sakai was the scene of nation building, and the prosperity of the time was evident in the construction of the Nintoku-tenno-ryo-Kofun Tumulus, one of the world’s three largest tombs.
In Japan’s medieval era Sakai engaged in trade and exchanges with Europe, Asia and other regions in Japan, and through the active absorption of foreign cultures and technologies it evolved into one of Japan’s leading autonomous cities. The city’s growth in a war-torn era was based on peace; the city was socially and culturally rich as well as economically strong with the active movement of people and goods.
In modern times as well Sakai’s enterprising spirit drove the growth of its commerce and industry, giving rise to the saying “everything starts from Sakai.”
Of particular note are the principles of the “tea ceremony,” perfected by Sakai-born Sen-no-Rikyu in the 16th century, in which the “tea room” must be free of weapons and social hierarchy. The spirit of hospitality based on respect and understanding for others is an epitome of the culture of peace and human rights respect originating in Sakai.
The community of Sakai suffered an enormous loss of human lives and property from war on three occasions, once during the Oei Rebellion, again during the Summer War of Osaka, and then from air raids in World War II. Each time, the citizens of Sakai rebuilt their lives.
Present day Sakai inherits this “spirit of hospitality” and the tradition of freedom and autonomy.
Sakai City has a history of growth founded on peace and of active engagement in furthering peace and human rights. In January 2007 it put into effect the “Sakai City Ordinance for Fostering Communities Respecting Peace and Human Rights” after becoming an ordinance-designated city in 2006, with aims to achieve and maintain international peace, promote the importance of peace and human rights both at home and abroad, and contribute toward building a peaceful society.
Based on the principles of this ordinance, Sakai City created the “SAKAI Peace Contribution Award” to communicate the importance of peace and respect for human rights, to further civic understanding and awareness for international cooperation and contribution activities, to extend support to various activities around the world and their further development, and to make an international contribution.
Through the “SAKAI Peace Contribution Award,” Sakai City will disseminate the “spirit of hospitality” to the world to help realize a peaceful society.