Japan Academy

Coordinates: 35°42′58.000″N 139°46′37.999″E / 35.71611111°N 139.77722194°E / 35.71611111; 139.77722194
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The Japan Academy
Nihon Gakushiin

Japan Imperial Academy, presently "Japan Academy"
Science academy overview
Formed1879; 144 years ago (1879)
Preceding agencies
  • Tokyo Academy
  • Imperial Academy
JurisdictionGovernment of Japan
HeadquartersTaito, Tokyo, Japan
35°42′58.000″N 139°46′37.999″E / 35.71611111°N 139.77722194°E / 35.71611111; 139.77722194
Annual budget¥631,133,000 (2021)
Science academy executive
Parent departmentMinistry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

The Japan Academy (Japanese: 日本学士院, Nihon Gakushiin) is an honorary organisation and science academy founded in 1879 to bring together leading Japanese scholars with distinguished records of scientific achievements. The Academy is currently an extraordinary organ of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology with its headquarters located in Taito, Tokyo, Japan. Election to the Academy is considered the highest distinction a scholar can achieve, and members enjoy life tenure and an annual monetary stipend.


Nishi Amane, head of the Tokyo Academy in 1879.

In 1873, Meiroku-sha (Meiroku Society) was founded. The main people of Meiroku-sha involved in Meiroku-sha were from Kaiseijo (later transformed into University of Tokyo and so on) and Keio Gijuku (Keio University).

In an effort to replicate the institutional landscape found in many Western nations, the leaders of the Meiji government sought to create a national academy of scholars and scientists modelled to the British Royal Society.

In 1879, Nishi Amane was made the head of what was then called the Tokyo Academy.

In 1906 it was renamed the Imperial Academy, and in 1947 it was renamed the Japan Academy.

Prizes awarded[edit]

The Imperial Prize and Japan Academy Prize are awarded to persons who have achieved notable research landmarks or who have authored outstanding academic papers or books. One of the Academy's most important functions involves conferring these prizes, which have been awarded annually since 1911. Since 1949, these prize award ceremonies have been graced by the presence of HIM the Emperor of Japan; and since 1990, both the Emperor and Empress have attended.[1]

Japan Academy Prize
From 1911 until 1947, the academy annually conferred the Imperial Prize of the Japan Academy (Gakushiin Onshi Shō). Amongst past winners are Hideyo Noguchi (1915)[2] and Tasuku Honjo (1996).[3] After 1947, the name of the award was changed to Japan Academy Prize (Gakushiin Shō).[1]

Duke of Edinburgh Prize
In 1987, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh suggested that the Academy take responsibility for conferring the biennial Duke of Edinburgh Prize to a Japanese scientist with outstanding achievements in the area of wildlife protection and species preservation.[1] In addition to this specific award, some 75 prizes and medals are associated with The Duke of Edinburgh.[4]

Japan Academy Medal
Since 2004, the Academy has annually conferred the Japan Academy Medal.[1]


The early-Meiji era Tokyo Academy was institutionally re-organized into an Imperial Academy in 1906; and this institution was renamed the Japan Academy in 1947:[5]

  • 1879 The Tokyo Academy established; Tokyo Academy Magazine (Vol. 1, No. 1).[5]
  • 1890 Tokyo Academy Statute promulgated.[5]
  • 1895 Honorary Membership established.[5]
  • 1906 Statute of the Imperial Academy promulgated; joined Internationale Assoziation der Akademien (IAA).[5]
  • 1911 Imperial Prize and Imperial Academy Prize established; first award ceremony.[5]
  • 1912 Proceedings of the Imperial Academy (Vol. 1, No. 1).[5]
  • 1919 Imperial Academy joined Union Académique Internationale (UAI).[5]
  • 1925 Statute of the Imperial Academy amended (increased membership).[5]
  • 1942 Transactions of the Imperial Academy (Vol. 1, No. 1).[5]
  • 1947 Imperial Academy renamed Japan Academy.[5]
  • 1949 Japan Academy institutionally linked to Science Council of Japan.
  • 1956 Law of the Japan Academy promulgated; Japan Academy de-linked from Science Council of Japan.[5]
  • 1971 Exchange program with foreign academies started.[5]
  • 1983 Visiting program of Honorary Members started.[5]
  • 1984 First public lecture meeting was held.[5]
  • 1987 Duke of Edinburgh Prize was adopted.[5]
  • 2004 Japan Academy Medal established.[5]


Founder of Meiroku Society, Keio University, and the First President of Tokyo Academy

President of the Tokyo Academy[edit]

No. Name Start of Term End of Term University
1. Fukuzawa Yukichi 1879 1879 Keio Gijuku
2. Nishi Amane 1879 1880 Yōrōkan
3. Katō Hiroyuki 1880 1882 University of Tokyo
4. Nishi Amane 1882 1886 Yōrōkan
5. Katō Hiroyuki 1886 1895 University of Tokyo
6. Hosokawa Jyunzirō 1895 1897 Bunbukan
7. Katō Hiroyuki 1897 1906 University of Tokyo

President of the Imperial Academy[edit]

No. Name Start of Term End of Term University
8. Katō Hiroyuki 1906 1909 University of Tokyo
9. Kikuchi Dairoku 1909 1917 University of Tokyo
10. Hozumi Nobushige 1917 1925 University of Tokyo
11. Okano Keizirō 1925 1925 University of Tokyo
12. Sakurai Jyōzi 1925 1939 University of Tokyo
13. Hantaro Nagaoka 1939 1948 University of Tokyo

President of the Japan Academy[edit]

No. Name Start of Term End of Term University
14. Yamada Saburō 1948 1961 University of Tokyo
15. Shibata Yuzi 1961 1970 University of Tokyo
16. Nanbara Shigeru 1970 1974 University of Tokyo
17. Kiyoo Wadati 1974 1980 University of Tokyo
18. Arisawa Hiromi 1980 1986 University of Tokyo
19. Kurokawa Toshio 1986 1988 Tohoku University
20. Wakimura Yoshitarō 1988 1994 University of Tokyo
21. Yoshio Fujita 1994 2000 University of Tokyo
22. Ichiko Teizi 2000 2001 University of Tokyo
23. Nagakura Saburō 2001 2007 University of Tokyo
24. Kubo Masaaki 2007 2013 University of Tokyo
25. Takashi Sugimura 2013 2016 University of Tokyo
26. Hiroshi Shiono[6] 2016 Present University of Tokyo

Counterparts in other countries[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Japan Academy: Activities Archived 2008-10-05 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Kita, Atsushi. (2005). Dr. Noguchi's Journey: A Life of Medical Search and Discovery, p. 186.
  3. ^ Tasuku Honjo: Curriculum vitae
  4. ^ Dukes of the UK: Prizes Archived 2008-03-19 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Japan Academy: History
  6. ^ "New President elected". Japan Academy. Retrieved 18 May 2017.


External links[edit]