Shigihara, Madarame chosen for Fukushima cultural merit awards

Photos: Hideo Madarame (left) and Meiju Shigihara

The Fukushima prefectural government announced on Oct. 5 that senior officials at photography and cycling organizations have been chosen for the Fukushima awards for cultural merit, which honor those who have greatly contributed to developing and improving local culture, academics and education. The honors went to Meiju Shigihara, 83, head of the Fukushima Photographic Society who was selected for the arts segment (fine art), and Hideo Madarame, 78, deputy chief of the Fukushima Cycling Federation who was chosen for the physical education category (sports). Sugihara lives in Fukushima city and Madarame in Shirakawa city. A ceremony for the 71st edition of the awards is scheduled for Nov. 3 at Sugitsuma Hall in Fukushima city. Shigihara has been in the post since 2005. He has been working to organize prefectural photo exhibitions, helping to raise the cultural profiles of local photographic communities. He has also nurtured younger generations of photographers by organizing such events as regular, joint gatherings of Fukushima photo clubs and traveling exhibitions of selected photos. As vice president of the Fukushima prefectural federation of arts and cultural organizations, Shigihara has also been making efforts for the promotion and development of local artistic culture. He has received many awards and honors, including a prize won in an exhibition hosted by the Nikakai Association of Photographers -- a branch of the prestigious Nikaten national art exhibition -- a prefectural photo exhibition grand prize and a governor's award. He has also served as juror and screening panel chief for various exhibitions. Madarame competed in the men's tandem scratch cycling event at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. After retiring from competitive cycling, he started a coaching career and served as a full-time coach for the Japanese Olympic Committee and national team, helping to increase the competitive level of Japanese cycling. He also became deputy head of the Fukushima Cycling Federation and chief of the local cycling federation in Shirakawa city, devoting himself to promoting the sport and training younger generations of athletes. Since he was still a competitive cyclist, Madarame has been coaching at what is called the "Madarame dojo" training hall for about 50 years. ■ Award will encourage efforts to convey allure of photography: Shigihara "I'm glad that I was rewarded for my efforts to help develop photographic culture in the prefecture. I feel quite emotional to be able to serve as society head on this landmark 50th anniversary of the organization's inauguration. This award will encourage me to continue my activities to convey the allure of photography. ■ Will help foster cyclists as long as vigor lasts: Madarame "For about half a century, I've been entirely engaged in this sport. I'm glad that I received recognition for what I've done for so many years in my cycling career. I was at the Olympic Games as an athlete and then as a coach, giving all my energies. From now on, I would like to contribute to the development of Fukushima's cycling communities through devotion to fostering younger generations as long as my vigor lasts." (Translated by Kyodo News)