• What are awards? Case studies of awards at corporate events

What are awards? Case studies of awards at corporate events


Recently, various English words have come to be used as Japanese business terms. Although there are Japanese words that correspond to the English words, the usage is intended to create a more precise business nuance and also to make it easier to convey the message to foreign countries.

The word “award” introduced here is one such example. Let’s talk about the meaning of “award” and some examples of awards actually held as events!

What are Awards?

An award is, in fact, a prize. However, there are some differences from the Japanese meaning of an “award”, and even if the Japanese word for awards is used, it may not be translated as “award” in English. Let’s take a closer look at this.

Etymology of the term “Award”

The Japanese word for award is written in English as ‘award’. It can be broken down into “a” and “ward”.

The “a” serves to emphasize the meaning, and the “ward” means “to observe”. It is said that the word “award” came to mean “prize,” from “to observe well”.

English Meaning of Award

As the etymology of the word above indicates, ‘award’ has the meaning of ‘to observe’ in the main. As a result, the Japanese word “award” has come to refer to “an award selected by examination and selection from among a number of candidates”.

To use a familiar example, an award for excellence selected by the jury at an exhibition is an “award,” but the first prize at an athletic meet is not called an award. In the case of an award, the award is based on the method of selecting the most appropriate work, so there can be a case where no awardee is chosen.

It may be easier to understand an award if you think of it as “an award chosen by a third party from among multiple participants”.

Award Synonyms

There are two synonyms for “award”: “prize” and “reward”. Both are increasingly used as business terms in Japan, so it is helpful to keep in mind the difference in meaning between them.

Meaning of Prize

A “prize” is a prize won through competition. A prize is awarded to the winner of a contest under certain rules, such as in sports. The difference between prizes and awards is that prizes are decided by rules.

Meaning of reward

The word “reward” refers to “a return”, compensation, or reward for an action. In Japanese, it is not an “award,” but rather a “thank you”. However, “reward” has a broader meaning than the Japanese words “kansha” (thank you) and “houshu” (reward), as it refers to not only goods, but also skills acquired as a result of an action.

Meaning and use of awards for companies and organizations

Up to this point, we have explained the meaning of the word “award”. Let us now explain how awards are used in the business world.

There are two main reasons why companies and organizations hold awards.

1. To Promote
2. To motivate employees, share knowledge, and improve the company’s overall service

When the goal is promotion

The purpose of holding an award sponsored by an industry organization or an award open to the general public is to promote and “raise awareness”. The more people who participate in the awards and the more works that are submitted, the more attention the awards will receive and the more people will see the awards. The more people who attend and participate in the awards, the more the awards attract attention and are seen by people.

When the purpose is to increase employee motivation, share knowledge, and improve overall company services

Another type of award is an award that a company conducts as an inner event. In this case, unlike the recognition type, most awards are not open to the public.

In this case, the term “award” is similar to “internal award ceremony,” and the content is more like an awards ceremony.

When employees who have achieved significant results within the company are given awards, not only the employee who received the award but also other employees can have the goal of ‘working hard to receive the award,’ which increases their motivation. In addition, by having the top performers report on seminars and their own efforts at the awards, knowledge can be shared, leading to an improvement in the company’s overall level of services.

The impact of awards as an internal event on the company is even greater than the increase in recognition, and since it is an important event for the company as a whole, many companies make a special effort to make it a yearly event.

As you can see, the content of an award varies greatly depending on “what the purpose of the award is” and “who will receive the award (candidates for the award),” so it is important to first clarify the purpose of the award when holding it.

What format are the awards held in?

As of February 2022, most awards are held online. Depending on the type of award, it is rather rare for an award event to be held to gather guests in one venue, but rather hold it online and exhibit the winning content online.

Case studies of awards (promotional) for companies and organizations

Let us now look at some examples of Japanese awards from companies and organizations.

First, we will introduce awards that are either open to the public or selected by industry associations on their own.


The most successful award in Japan is the Good Design Award, which was established in 1957 and is the only award in Japan that focuses on “design”.

The main point of the Good Design Award is that the evaluation criteria is design, regardless of the genre of the exhibits. 2021 award winners include a robot café, a plastic gown, a public bath, a game machine ……, and many others. An opportunity to show the importance of design, transcending all genres.

Case2: Sendenkaigi Award

One of the most well-known awards in a specialized genre is the Sendenkaigi Award. These awards are given to the best advertisements in all forms of advertising, from the commercials we see every day to the ad pages of magazines and web ads.

Although advertising and publicity tend to be somewhat disliked genres, many of the works that receive the Sendenkaigi Award are surprising and moving to the viewers of the advertisement, and play a role in raising the level of their impression of the advertisement itself.

Case3: Food Service Awards

The awards are held by the Food Service Industry Press Association, which is comprised of magazines related to the food service industry. The awards are sponsored by the Gaishoku Sangyo Press Association, which is comprised of magazines specializing in the food service industry, and have been held 18 times to honor those who have been active in the food service industry that year. The major difference between this award and the two above is that it is not an “entry type” award. Rather than being for the general public, these awards are designed to raise the profile of the winners within the industry.

Examples of awards handled by Global Produce (for employee motivation)

In the past, “awards” referred to promotional awards, but recently, more and more awards ceremonies for inner events are being called “awards” as well. Here are some examples of employee motivational awards that GP has worked on!

Case1: Walking down the gentle flower path decorated with lanterns to the stage

The moment when the award winners walk down the flower aisle is an important point in the awards ceremony. For this occasion, we designed the flower aisle leading to the stage in a gentle S-shape, with lanterns on both sides to encourage the recipients to take each step toward the stage.

In addition, a large screen was installed in front of the stage. The Japanese style of the stage was carefully staged by using a single kanji character to express the thoughts of the award winners.

Case2: Fashion show-inspired stage emphasizing the joy of being in the spotlight

The venue was designed as a simple and sophisticated space inspired by a fashion show. Lighting equipment was placed next to the runway to create pillars of light for a three-dimensional effect.

The runway was the same height as the stage, with a center runway running straight through the venue. The runway was designed so that the award winners walking down the runway would feel the spotlights and admiration to the fullest.

Case3: Award ceremony in a space like a universe, only possible with 3DCG

We adopted a process whereby the award winners would watch the event at a satellite site and when their names were called, they would come to the front of the camera for the presentation of the award and the presentation scene would be staged for them. 

Since the studio was capable of using 3DCG, we used 3DCG to create a space that resembled the cockpit of a spaceship. Not only the background, but also the trophy was created virtually so that it would float in the virtual space, creating a unique award ceremony with a futuristic feel.

By the way, GP’s tips for online awards ceremonies are covered in another article.

Please also check out the article below:

How to hold online Awards Ceremonies


Award is an imported word that have recently come into use as a business term. Therefore, there are cases where the meaning differs from person to person, and it is necessary to be a little careful when using the word. However, it is a word that will become more common in the future, so it is important to keep in mind the meaning and the purpose when the term is selected.