Photo/Illutration Toshio Hosokawa (Photo taken by Hiromi Shinada in Tokyo's Akasaka district on Nov. 29, 2018)

Composer Toshio Hosokawa is one of this year's winners of the Goethe Medal, becoming the first recipient from Japanese music circles.

The prestigious prize is given by the Goethe-Institut, a public cultural organization founded by Germany, to honor contributions to international cultural exchanges.

"I was able to discover a unique world of music by going deep into the forest of German art," said Hosokawa, 65, during an awards ceremony on Sept. 30 in Tokyo. "I'm grateful for the generosity of Germany that encouraged me to create music by standing apart from a simplistic Westernization and going back to the Japanese origin."

Born in Hiroshima, Hosokawa went to Berlin when he was 20 to study music under the tutelage of Isang Yun, a great composer born in Korea under Japanese colonial rule.

He is one of the modern composers frequently commissioned by international music festivals and theaters, including the Aix-en-Provence Festival and the Salzburg Festival.

Hosokawa's opera "Stilles Meer," written and directed by Oriza Hirata, which is themed on Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, premiered in Hamburg, Germany, in January 2016.

The Goethe Medal was also given to Japanese writer Yoko Tawada in 2005.

Past recipients from the music field include Peter Eotvos and Daniel Barenboim.