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The 23rd ‘Bunka (Cultural) Awards’ ceremony organized by the Japan – Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund, was held on Sunday November 6 at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Colombo 7.  Minister of Internal Affairs Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs SB Navinna, graced the occasion as Chief Guest while Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan graced the occasion as Guest of Honour.

Shungo Yoshioka, president of the Japanese Solidarity Association of Sri Lanka, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, Co-Chairman of the Fund and other distinguished invitees including members of the diplomatic corps and renowned Sri Lankan artists were also present at this event.
The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund, which was established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan.  They aim to encourage and promote Sri Lankan artists with remarkable talents in drama, theatre, dance, music, painting, sculpture, pottery, photography, lyric writing, literature, video animation and visual arts.  For the past 23 years, 124 individuals and organizations received the Bunka Awards for their outstanding creative activities in culture and arts.
This year the following five Sri Lankan artistes received the prestigious Bunka Awards (in alphabetical order).  At the stage each award winner displayed their versatile talents which had merited their selection.

1.    Ruwanthie de Chickera   (Theatre)
2.    Sulochna Dissanayake   (Puppetry)
3.    Kishani Jayasinghe   (Music)
4.    Vimukthi Jayasundara   (Cinema)
5.    Dr. S. Jayasankar   (Theatre)

Moreover, there was a special feature at this year’s Bunka Awards presentation in the form of live performances of drumming by the Japanese traditional drum troupe “FUKAZAWAGUMI” and of dancing by the Japanese traditional dance troupe “KIKUNOKAI,” both of which are professional performers flown down from Japan by courtesy of Cathay Pacific Airlines Colombo office.

From left: Dr. S. Jayasankar, Vimukthi Jayasundera, Kishani Jayasinghe, Sulochna Dissanayake, Ruwanthie de Chickera, Shungo Yoshioka, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs SB Navinna and the Ambassador of Japan, Kenichi Suganuma
From left: Dr. S. Jayasankar, Vimukthi Jayasundera, Kishani Jayasinghe, Sulochna Dissanayake, Ruwanthie de Chickera, Shungo Yoshioka, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs SB Navinna and the Ambassador of Japan, Kenichi Suganuma