New Music Composition Contest for the YIS Japanese Music Ensemble


2015 NYC Tour

See the YIS Japanese Music Ensemble "2015 NYC Tour" music videos here.

"21st Century Japanese Music Project "Composer's Competition Results"

On behalf of all the judges for ICJC's "21st Century Japanese Music Project", we thank all the composers who submitted new scores for this year's competition.  Please see the following attachment for the official results.
この度は、日本芸術文化国際センター主催第1回 21世紀邦楽プロジェクト:邦楽アンサンブルの「新作募集」へのご応募、誠にありがとうございました。審査結果はこちらをクリック頂きましたら、pdfファイルにて、ご覧頂けます。


1.         To promote and raise awareness of traditional Japanese instruments and music by encouraging new compositions on an international scale.

2.         To expand the repertory of quality compositions that successfully utilize Japanese and western traditional instruments.

3.         To support young koto musicians and encourage their participation in the contemporary music scene.

Organizer: International Center for Japanese Culture
Financial Support: Toshiba International Foundation
Contributors: Mother Earth Publishing, Hogaku Journal


The International Center for Japanese Culture (ICJC) is working to promote new compositions for traditional Japanese instruments in order to bring attention to their unique sounds and musical capabilities. In spite of increasing worldwide exposure and interest in the traditional music and instruments of Japan, new compositions which successfully combine both western and Japanese instruments are still unusual.  2015 is the inaugural year of the 21st Century Japanese Music Project, and the first initiative is the creation of a composition contest combining the Japanese koto with one western instrument (details below). The competition aims to promote a deeper understanding of traditional Japanese culture and international collaboration through new music written by composers worldwide. Winning compositions will be awarded a cash prize of¥500,000 for first place and ¥100,000 for second place. In addition, winning compositions will be performed both in Japan and the USA in 2015 by the award winning Yokohama International School High Japanese Music Ensemble as well as published through Mother Earth Publishing Company. To see the flyer, please click here.

Panel of Judges

  • Katsuhiro Tsubonou, Composer (Panel Chairman)
  • Dr. Joseph Amato, Composer
  • Noriko Nakamura, Composer
  • Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, Shakuhachi performer
  • Kumiko Takahashi, Composer

Cash Prize and Awards

Two compositions will be selected and awarded cash prizes:
First Prize: ¥500,000
Second Prize: ¥100,000

In addition, the following considerations will be granted to the winning compositions:  

1. Premiere performances in both Japan and the USA in 2015 by the YIS Japanese Music Ensemble

2. Composer invitation to the premiere performance in Yokohama in 2015. (Domestic transportation within Japan and lodging to be paid for by ICJC).

*Please note award winning composers will be asked to give a short presentation regarding their composition during the concert. Concert schedule to be published at a later date.

 3. Winning scores will be published by Mother Earth Publishing Company, Tokyo.

   * Please note all international copyrights laws apply and legal ownership/royalties under agreement with the composer, ICJC and Mother Earth Publishing.

Submission Requirements

1) Instrumentation: The submitted works must be written for two to five performers including up to three 13-string kotos and one 17-string bass koto. One western instrument must be included in the composition (flute, clarinet, violin or cello).

2) Composition Length: 6 to 12 minutes.

3) Score:   Western Score

4) Other stipulations:            No age limit or nationality requirement.Composition should not be previously performed or recorded.

*For more information on composing for the Japanese koto please see here, as well as video recordings of the YIS Japanese Music Ensembles, please see ICJC homepage at

Submission Information and Announcement

Submission Deadline: Sunday, May 31, 2015 (6:00pm local time)

Submission Materials:

1) Music Manuscript either PDF or hard copy.

*Please note scores will not be returned.

  •  2) Application information including Full Name, Birthdate, Nationality, Address, Phone/Fax, Email, Composition Length and short profile (200 words) in English or Japanese
  • *Application form may be downloaded here in word or here in PDF format.

Submission Method:


  ・Music score (PDF) and application information should be emailed to Please include the following information in your subject box: “21st Century Japanese Music Project” Data should not exceed 5MB.


  ・Music score (2 copies) and application information should be sent by registered email to:

International Center for Japanese Culture

“21st Century Japanese Music Project”

Yamate-cho 249-2, Naka-ku

Yokohama, 231-0862


*Confirmation of receipt of materials will be sent via email by ICJC and posted within three working days. If not, please contact ICJC.

Winning compositions will be announced by Monday, June 15th, 2015.

Further Details for all applicants:

1. Submitted Compositions are recommended to have written clearly:

a) metronome markings

b) rehearsal marks

c) composer name on front cover only.

2. Applicants may submit only one composition.

3. Corrections to score can not be made after first submitted.  Scores will not be returned once submitted.

4. Plagiarized scores or any other false information submitted will result in immediate disqualification.

5. Prize money is in Japanese yen currency.

6. Compositions selected for awards become sole ownership of ICJC.

7.  Private contact to or any consultation with judges results in immediate disqualification.

8.  For any other updates regarding the competition, please see the ICJC homepage.

For further information and details regarding the 21st Century Japanese Music Project, submission guidelines, performance techniques (composition tutorial) and the 2015 concert information, please see the ICJC homepage at or contact ICJC via email at