From the beginning, KIWA has had special ideas concerning how to handle the selecting and awarding of prints for our exhibitions. The president chooses several people, usually about eight, and not all of them he knows personally, to be judges. Some are printmakers, others are quite ordinary citizens; young and elderly, Japanese and foreigners living in the Kyoto area. Only by coincidence do some of them know other judges; most are strangers to all the others. Students from the Steiner Print Workshop act as Advisors, answering technical or technique questions a judge might have. Advisors also have voting rights. Altogether, there may be a dozen "judges."
The selection and prize awarding is done in one day. The selecting of works to display is done in the morning, at least one by every entrant, and the prize winners chosen in the afternoon. Open voting, not secret ballot.
The names of the judges are never made public, before or after the voting. This is to avoid any opportunity for some vested interests to try to influence the voting one way or another. The chief judge is KIWA's president, who can explain why or why not a print was awarded a prize, should such an explanation be necessary. But the judges decision is final.
The same individuals are not used for every exhibition, though there may be one or two who will be asked again to be a judge at some later date.
The judges are not paid. Lunch and some travel money is all they receive. They all understand this from the time they are first requested to be a judge, and agree with it.
Having both professional print people and others who are not directly involved in the print world ensures that the voting will be a fair reflection of what society is liking at any time.