Pramoedya Acceptance Speech "The Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize"

The Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize
Pramoedya Ananta Toer 
Acceptance Speech 

Honourable Mr. Marakami Hiroshi
Honourable Committee of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize
Your Excellency Mr.....Mayor of the City of Fukuoka
Honourable participants and guests,

The Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize awarded to me begins a new chapter in my personal relationship with Japan. I reached adulthood during the 1942-1945 Japanese occupation of Indonesia. I witnessed how Japan, a nation of action, taught Indonesians the courage to resist through action the occupation by a Western nation that seemed unshakeable for all time. Bung Karno, the first president of the Republic of Indonesia, as leader of the struggle for independence and nation-building in his Political Manifesto taught us to gather three strengths, called the Trisakti:

The first source of strength: political sovereignty
The second source of strength: economic self-sufficiency
The third source of strength: cultural character.

     It is easy to see the source of inspiration: it was Japan.
    In order to realize the Trisakti, Indonesia still has much to learn from Japan. And I am convinced that as a nation of action, Japan will continue to extend a hand to Indonesia as it has done in various co-operative programmes as well as through humanitarian assistance at times of natural disaster.
     I stand here today to accept this award from the Japanese people, from the Committee for the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize. In terms of Bung Karno’s Trisakti, this important event is no coincidence because the prize is a resounding confirmation of the third source of strength, that of cultural character. Culture is a vital element in international relations. As we enter the third milennium, the world’s population continues to increase while the spaces for human life are shrinking. Under such circumstances, every sign of difference is easily turned into a point of conflict, at times leading even to genocide. Cultural character must be understood in the first place as striving towards the fullest expression of humanity with recognition of all human rights and responsibilities. It is this that will serve to humanize the relations between all citizens of the world and all nations.
     I take the opportunity presented by this honour to express my deep gratitude.

Thank you.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer 
Jakarta, 18 September 2000
Subowo bin Sukaris
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