The Origin of the KIFC
Former Chairperson of Kobe Cultural Foundation
Around 35 years ago, the Kobe City Government was looking for cultural projects that would nurture aspiring musicians and help them make the leap from Kobe to the world. The goal was to make Kobe more well-known as a cosmopolitan city through music and to promote international cultural exchanges.
One such project was the creation of an international flute competition. The idea for this project came to fruition mainly because the flute is one of the most popular musical instruments in Japan, where there is a large population of flute enthusiasts. Additionally, back then, not many well-known international competitions existed that were exclusive to the flute—it was possible to gain worldwide recognition even for a newcomer. Moreover, a presence of Chang-Kook Kim, a world-class flutist who lived and grew up in Kobe, connected the city and the field of the flute.
Around the same time, Kobe was selected to host the 1985 Summer Universidad, an international sports and cultural extravaganza for university students. When the event’s executive committee was discussing possible content for the event, the committee’s chairperson, Michiko Senoo, vice chairperson of the Kobe Women’s Group Coordinating Committee, asked if there were any cultural projects that would allow young people to compete and could be continued to carry on in the future. This is when we proposed a rough plan for the flute competition, which had been under consideration by us.
With approval from the committee and ultimate decision made by Mayor Tatsuo Miyazaki, commencement of the Kobe International Flute Competition was formally initiated in 1985.
The event was made possible through the great efforts of many. In particular, the efforts and support of the following people were essential: Masao Yoshida, chairperson of the Japan Flutists Association; Chang-Kook Kim, professor at Tokyo University of Arts; Takatoshi Yoshida, vice chairperson of the Japan Federation of Musicians; as well as many others, including Takashi Asahina, a world-renowned conductor living in Kobe.
This is how the Kobe International Flute Competition began.
* Titles mentioned in context are ones held at the time.