LAST Friday witnessed the coming together of Kigyo Mécénat Kyogikai (KMK) and My Performing Arts Agency (MyPAA) for a historic pact which is set to push Malaysian arts and culture further into the ASEAN region. Signing the newly-created Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dubbed Corporate Mecenat Japan-Malaysia Connection, were both President of KMK, Motoki Ozaki, and Director of MyPAA, Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin.
The MOU marks a bilateral partnership to promote corporate mecenat — derived from the French word mécénat, which means patronage or sponsorship — in Malaysia and advocate it in the ASEAN region. It’s great news for local artists, as well as for MyPAA which has over the years pushed for more connections between the business sector and the arts.
The idea for the partnership first took shape at annual arts conference Borak Arts Series back during November 2014, in which MyPAA was introduced to KMK through Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur (JFKL). Speaking at the conference, KMK’s Executive Director, Taneo Kato, and Executive Secretary, Yasuko Ogiwara, shed light on Japan’s corporate support system. MyPAA took close note, and eighteen months later the memorandum was born.
“Without a doubt, we expressed our desires to learn more about the system and how to seed a strategic platform with similar philosophy in Malaysia,” recalled Izan from Tokyo.
“MyPAA then initiated an informal Coalition of Corporate Support for the Arts, consisting of an encouraging number of local corporate bodies, in addition to public stakeholders to discuss on developing partnerships, promoting support for arts and culture, information exchange, advocating, research and cultural fundraising support.”
The MOU aims to help introduce the concept, tools and structure for corporate support in the arts — both parties hope that all efforts will help promote and formalise the coalition.
“After four meaningful meetings of 30 organisations, we are steadily moving towards a promising future,” Izan stated.
“Investing in culture is critical in developing the future,” explained Motoki at the signing. “It is very important to understand the different cultures in order for Japan to grow together with ASEAN. We would like to continue the engagement and this conference series in order to establish a strong cultural promotion platform at the private sector level.”.
KMK, also known as the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts, is Japan’s first non-profit organisation, representing nearly 200 organisations and philanthropists with interest in the creative industry. The association promotes awareness of corporate arts support through the programs such as research, seminars and even award shows.
Some of KMK’s most-valuable work in Japan includes initiating the Arts Project Assistance Approval Program, which provides corporations based in Japan with tax-deductible advantages upon supporting arts projects. Malaysia has yet to achieve a program of this scale and effect related to the arts, although the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) under the leadership of Kamil Othman is currently looking into a similar system to encourage corporate support for the local film industry.
Also present at the signing were Ambassador of Malaysia to Japan, Ahmad Izlan Idris, and Chair of KMK, Tatsuyoshi Takashima. The latter also heads international advertising and public relations company Dentsu Inc.
The MOU preempts a conference due 24 August 2016 at Le Meridien Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Titled Research and Conference in Facilitating Corporate Mecenat Activities and Establishing a Network in ASEAN Countries, the programme is meant to promote corporate philantrophy and mecenat among Southeast Asian nations.
Featuring international funders and speakers including SHISEIDO General Manager of Corporate Culture Department, Yukihiro Saito, and KMK President, Motoki Ozaki himself, the event will see abundant networking opportunities. Stakeholders in Malaysia’s creative ecosystem should benefit from insightful presentations from past contributors to the mecenat system, on top of panel discussions, round table sessions and performances.
To get yourself a seat or find out more about the Research and Conference in Facilitating Corporate Mecenat Activities and Establishing a Network in ASEAN Countries, make sure to pre-register via firstname.lastname@example.org!