Japan Prize

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For the educational media awards, see Japan Prize (NHK).

The Japan Prize (日本国際賞 Nihon-kokusai-shō?, lit.: Japan International Prize) is awarded to people from all parts of the world whose "original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind."


It is presented by The Japan Prize Foundation. The prize consists of a certificate, a commemorative medal and a cash award of approximately ¥50 million (about US$600,000). Only living individuals may be nominated for the prize.


Year Name Nationality Citation
2014 Yasuharu Suematsu  Japan for pioneering research on semiconductor lasers for high-capacity long-distance optical fiber communication.
C. David Allis  United States for the discovery of histone modifications as fundamental regulators of gene expression.
2013 C. Grant Willson
Jean M. J. Fréchet
 United States
 United States
for development of chemically amplified resist polymer materials for innovative semiconductor manufacturing process.[1]
John Frederick Grassle  United States for contribution to marine environmental conservation through research on ecology and biodiversity of deep-sea organisms.
2012 Janet Rowley
Brian Druker
Nicholas Lydon
 United States
 United States
 United Kingdom
for the development of a new therapeutic drug targeting cancer-specific molecules.
Masato Sagawa  Japan for the developing the world's highest performing Nd-Fe-B type permanent magnet and contributing to energy conservation.
2011 Kenneth Thompson
Dennis Ritchie
 United States
 United States
for writing the Unix operating system.
Tadamitsu Kishimoto
Toshio Hirano
for the discovery of interleukin-6.
2010 Shun’ichi Iwasaki  Japan for contributions to high-density magnetic recording technology by the development of a perpendicular magnetic recording method.
Peter Vitousek  United States for contributions to solving global environmental issues based on the analysis of nitrogen and other substances’ cycles.
2009 Dennis L. Meadows  United States for contributions in the area of "Transformation towards a sustainable society in harmony with nature".
David E. Kuhl  United States for contributions in the area of "Technological integration of medical science and engineering". Specifically, tomographic imaging in nuclear medicine.
2008 Vinton Gray Cerf
Robert E. Kahn
 United States
 United States
for the creation of network architecture and communication protocol for the Internet.
Victor A. McKusick  United States for the establishment of medical genetics and contributions to its development.
2007 Albert Fert
Peter Grünberg
for the discovery of Giant Magneto-Resistance (GMR) and its contribution to development of innovative spin-electronics devices.
Peter Shaw Ashton  United Kingdom for contributions to the conservation of tropical forest.
2006 John Houghton  United Kingdom for pioneering research on atmospheric structure and composition based on his satellite observation technology and for promotion of international assessments of climate change.
Akira Endo  Japan for the discovery of the Statins and their development.
2005 Makoto Nagao  Japan for pioneering contributions to Natural Language Processing and Intelligent Image Processing.
Masatoshi Takeichi
Erkki Ruoslahti
 United States
for fundamental contribution in elucidating the Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Adhesion.
2004 Kenichi Honda
Akira Fujishima
for pioneering work on photochemical catalysis and its application for the environment.
Keith J. Sainsbury  New Zealand for contributions to the understanding of shelf ecosystems and their sustainable utilization.
John H. Lawton  United Kingdom for observational, experimental and theoretical achievements for the scientific understanding and conservation of Biodiversity.
2003 Benoît Mandelbrot
James A. Yorke
 France  United States
 United States
for the creation of universal concepts in complex systems - Chaos and Fractals.
Seiji Ogawa  Japan for the discovery of the principle for functional magnetic resonance imaging.
2002 Tim Berners-Lee  United Kingdom for advancement of civilization through invention, implementation and deployment of the World Wide Web.
Anne McLaren
Andrzej K. Tarkowski
 United Kingdom
for pioneering work on mammalian embryonic development.
2001 John B. Goodenough  United States for the discovery of environmentally benign electrode materials for high energy density rechargeable lithium batteries.
Timothy R. Parsons  Canada for the contributions to the development of Biological/Fisheries Oceanography and for conservation of fishery resources and marine environment.
2000 Ian L. McHarg  United States for the establishment of an ecological City Planning Process and a proposal of a Land Use Evaluation System.
Kimishige Ishizaka  Japan for the discovery of Immunoglobulin E and mechanisms of IgE-mediated allergic reactions.
1999 W. Wesley Peterson  United States for the establishment of coding theory for reliable digital communication, broadcasting and storage.
Jack L. Strominger
Don C. Wiley
 United States
 United States
for the elucidation of the three dimensional structures of class I and class II human histocompatibility antigens and their bound peptides.
1998 Leo Esaki  Japan for the creation and realization of the concept of man-made superlattice crystals which lead to generation of new materials with useful applications.
Jozef S. Schell
Marc C. E. Van Montagu
for the establishment of the theory and method of the production of transgenic plants.
1997 Takashi Sugimura
Bruce N. Ames
 United States
for the contribution to establishment of fundamental concept on causes of cancer.
Joseph F. Engelberger
Hiroyuki Yoshikawa
 United States
for the establishment of the Robot Industry and Creation of a Techno-Global Paradigm.
1996 Charles K. Kao  United States  United Kingdom for pioneering research on wide-band, low-loss optical fiber communications.
Masao Ito  Japan for the elucidation of the functional principles and neural mechanisms of the cerebellum.
1995 Nick Holonyak, Jr.  United States for outstanding contributions to research and practical applications of light emitting diodes and lasers through pioneering achievements in the understanding of physical principles and in the process technology of intermetallic compound semiconductors.
Edward F. Knipling  United States for pioneering contributions in the development of Integrated Pest Management by the Sterile Insect Release Method and other biological approaches.
1994 William Hayward Pickering  New Zealand for inspirational leadership in unmanned lunar and planetary exploration, and for pioneering achievements in the development of spacecraft and deep space communications.
Arvid Carlsson  Sweden for the discovery of dopamine as a neurotransmitter and clarification of its role in mental and motor functions and their disorders.
1993 Frank Press  United States for the development of modern seismology and advancement of international cooperation in disaster science.
Kary B. Mullis  United States for the development of the polymerase chain reaction.
1992 Gerhard Ertl  Germany for the contributions to the new development of the chemistry and physics of solid surfaces.
Ernest John Christopher Polge  United Kingdom for the discovery of a method of the cryopreservation of semen and embryos in farm animals.
1991 Jacques-Louis Lions  France for the contributions to analysis and control of distributed systems, and to promotion of applied analysis.
John Julian Wild  United States for the development of ultrasound imaging in medicine.
1990 Marvin Minsky  United States for the establishment of an academic field named Artificial Intelligence and the proposal of fundamental theories in that field.
William Jason Morgan
Dan McKenzie
Xavier Le Pichon
 United States
 United Kingdom
for the initiation of the theory of plate tectonics and contributions to its development.
1989 Frank Sherwood Rowland  United States for the studies on the mechanisms of stratospheric ozone depletion by chlorofluorocarbons.
Elias James Corey  United States for the pioneering contributions to the syntheses of prostaglandins and their related compounds which are of great therapeutic value.
1988 Georges Vendryes  France for the establishment of fast breeder reactor technology.
Donald Henderson
Isao Arita
Frank Fenner
 United States
for the eradication of Smallpox.
Luc Montagnier
Robert C. Gallo
 United States
for the discovery of the AIDS-causing virus and development of diagnostic methods.
1987 Henry M. Beachell
Gurdev S. Khush
 United States
for the development of the IR8 and IR36 strains for rice breeding strategies geared to the tropical and subtropical zones.
Theodore H. Maiman  United States for the realization of the world's first laser.
1986 David Turnbull  United States for pioneering contributions to materials science with impact on new materials technology such as amorphous solids.
Willem J. Kolff  United States for research and development of artificial organs and their relevant technology.
1985 John R. Pierce  United States for outstanding achievement in the field of electronics and communications technologies.
Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir  Israel for outstanding achievement in basic theory in the field of immobilized enzymes and their practical applications.

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