Japan Prize

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Japan Prize
Awarded fororiginal and outstanding achievements in science and technology that are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and having served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind
Country Japan
Presented byThe Japan Prize Foundation
First awarded1985

The Japan Prize (日本国際賞, Nihon-kokusai-shō, lit. "Japan International Prize") is awarded to individuals 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. As of 2024, the Japan Prize has been awarded to 111 people from more than ten countries.[1]

The Japan Prize is presented by the Japan Prize Foundation, which selects internationally-renowned scientists and engineers to be awarded the Prize in one of two areas: one from Physics, Chemistry, Informatics, and Engineering; and one from Life Science, Agriculture, Medicine, and Pharmacy. The corresponding fields for each area are determined in advance, and each year, two awards are presented. Laureates each receive a certificate of merit, a prize medal, and as of 2020, a prize of 100 million yen. Only living individuals are eligible for the award.

The prestigious prize presentation ceremony is held in the presence of the Emperor and the Empress of Japan. According to his book Dancing Naked in the Mind Field,[2] Kary Mullis, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, addressed Empress Michiko as sweetie when being awarded the prize in 1993 for the development of the polymerase chain reaction. The events are also attended by the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the House of Councillors, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and by government ministers and representatives from various fields and industries.[1] The 2014 Japan Prize Presentation Ceremony was held on April 23 at the National Theatre in Tokyo.[3]

At present the international prize is often considered one of the most prestigious awards in science and technology fields after the Nobel Prize. According to an article in the scientific journal Nature Immunology,[4] the prize is one of the prestigious science awards that recognize immunology as well as Nobel Prize, Sweden (since 1901), Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, USA (since 1946), Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, Germany (since 1952), Canada Gairdner International Award, Canada (since 1959), Wolf Prize, Israel (since 1978), and Crafoord Prize, Sweden (since 1980).


In 1981, the Japanese government wished to establish a prestigious international award that would contribute to the advancement of science and technology, and private donations would form the foundation of the prize.

The Japanese Government issued the following cabinet endorsement on the establishment of the Japan Prize on October 28, 1983:

The official position of the Japanese Government is that the Japan Prize, to be bestowed by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan (now known as the Japan Prize Foundation), will serve to deepen the understanding of the role played by science and technology in furthering world peace and prosperity, thereby making a vital contribution to the positive development of mankind. Based on this judgment, the government agencies concerned are urged to offer whatever cooperation necessary in all phases pertinent to this Prize.

The first Japan Prize Presentation Ceremony was held in April 1985.


Year Name Nationality Citation
2024 Brian Hoskins
John Michael Wallace
 United Kingdom
 United States
for the establishment of a scientific foundation for understanding and predicting extreme weather events[5]
Ronald M. Evans  United States for the discovery of the nuclear hormone receptor family and its application to drug development
2023 Masataka Nakazawa
Kazuo Hagimoto
for distinguished contributions to global long-distance, high-capacity optical fiber network through the development of semiconductor laser pumped optical amplifier.[6]
Gero Miesenböck
Karl Deisseroth
 United States
for the development of methods that use genetically addressable light-sensitive membrane proteins to unravel neural circuit function.
2022 Katalin Karikó
Drew Weissman
 United States
for pioneering research contributing to the development of mRNA vaccines.[7]
Christopher Field  United States for outstanding contributions to estimation of global biospheric productivity and climate change science using advanced formulas based on observation
2021 Martin A. Green  Australia for development of high-efficiency silicon photovoltaic devices.[8]
Bert Vogelstein
Robert A. Weinberg
 United States
 United States
for their pioneering work in conceptualizing a multi-step model of carcinogenesis and its application and impact on improving cancer diagnosis and therapy.
2020 Robert G. Gallager  United States for pioneering contribution to information and coding theory.[9]
Svante Pääbo  Sweden for pioneering contributions to paleoanthropology through decoding ancient human genome sequences.
2019 Yoshio Okamoto  Japan for leading contributions to precision synthesis of helical polymers and development of practical chiral materials for separating chiral drugs.[10]
Rattan Lal  India for the sustainable soil management for global food security and mitigation of climate change.
2018 Akira Yoshino  Japan for the development of lithium ion batteries.[11]
Max Dale Cooper
Jacques Miller
 United States
for the discovery of B and T lymphocyte lineages and its impact on understanding disease pathology and therapeutic development.
2017 Emmanuelle Charpentier
Jennifer Doudna
 United States
for deciphering the molecular details of the type II bacterial immune system CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)-Cas and the creation of the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system, a truly revolutionary technique in genetic engineering, far more economical and faster than those previously available.[12]
Adi Shamir  Israel for his significant contributions to the fields of cryptography and computer science.
2016 Hideo Hosono  Japan for the creation of unconventional inorganic materials with novel electronic functions based on nano-structure engineering.
Steven D. Tanksley  United States for his contribution to modern crop breeding through research on development of molecular genetic analysis.
2015 Yutaka Takahasi (ja)  Japan for the contribution to development of innovative concept on river basin management and reduction of water-related disasters.
Theodore Friedmann
Alain Fischer
 United States
for the proposal of the concept of gene therapy and its clinical applications.
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 (de)
Jean M. J. Fréchet
 United States
 United States
for development of chemically amplified resist polymer materials for innovative semiconductor manufacturing process.[13]
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 led 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 (ja)
 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Japan Prize Foundation". www.japanprize.jp.
  2. ^ Kary Mullis. Dancing Naked in the Mind Field. 1998, Vintage Books
  3. ^ "2014 Japan Prize Presentation Ceremony". Tokyo Institute of Technology.
  4. ^ Doherty, P. C. (2010). "The glittering prizes". Nature Immunology. 11 (10): 875–8. doi:10.1038/ni1010-875. PMID 20856214. S2CID 205360317.
  5. ^ Laureates 2024
  6. ^ Laureates 2023
  7. ^ Laureates 2022
  8. ^ Laureates 2021
  9. ^ Laureates 2020
  10. ^ "The Japan Prize Foundation". www.japanprize.jp. Archived from the original on 2021-02-04. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  11. ^ "The Japan Prize Foundation". www.japanprize.jp.
  12. ^ "Japan Prize 2017". Archived from the original on February 3, 2017.
  13. ^ Tobin, Dave. (2013, January 30). "SUNY ESF alumnus Jean Fréchet wins Japan Prize," Archived 2019-01-10 at the Wayback Machine Syracuse.com. Accessed: January 31, 2013.

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