The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation was established as a result of a visit to London in 1983 by the late Ryoichi Sasakawa during which he met a number of senior British figures to discuss the international situation and, in particular, UK-Japanese relations. It was agreed at these discussions that it would be in the interest of both countries if more could be done to enhance mutual appreciation and understanding of each other’s culture, society and achievements and that a non-governmental, non-profit making body should be established for this purpose.
A donation of almost £10 million was subsequently made by The Sasakawa Foundation (now called The Nippon Foundation), founded in 1962, and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation was inaugurated in May 1985, in parallel with similar initiatives in Scandinavia, France and the United States.
The Chairman of The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation is the Earl of St Andrews.
The Foundation's aim is to develop good relations between the United
Kingdom and Japan by advancing the education of the people of both
nations in each other's culture, society and achievements.
It seeks to promote mutual understanding and cooperation through
financial support for activities in the following fields:
- Arts & Culture
- Humanities and Social Issues
- Japanese Language
- Medicine & Health
- Science, Technology and Environment
- Youth and Education
Whilst encouraging applications in each of the above fields, the
Foundation particularly wishes to support activities/projects in
science & technology; medicine & health; environment & social issues;
Japanese studies; and in the Japanese language.
The Foundation's awards are intended to provide "pump-priming" and not core funding of projects, but even small grants have enabled a wide range of projects to reach fruition, such as:
- Visits between the UK and Japan by academics, professionals, creative artists, teachers, young people, journalists and representatives of civic and non-governmental organisations
- Research and collaborative studies, seminars, workshops, lectures and publications in academic and specialist fields
- Teaching and development of Japanese language and cultural studies in schools, Further Education colleges and universities
- Exhibitions, performances and creative productions by artists, musicians, film-makers, writers and theatre groups