Person of Cultural Merit

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Person of Cultural Merit (文化功労者, bunka kōrōsha) is an official Japanese recognition and honor which is awarded annually to select people who have made outstanding cultural contributions. This distinction is intended to play a role as a part of a system of support measures for the promotion of creative activities in Japan. By 1999, 576 people had been selected as Persons of Cultural Merit.[1]

System of recognition[edit]

The Order of Culture and Persons of Cultural Merit function in tandem to honor those who have contributed to the advancement and development of Japanese culture in a variety of fields, including academia, arts, science[1] and sports.[2]

Order of Culture[edit]

The award ceremony, which takes place at the Imperial Palace on the Day of Culture (November 3). Candidates for the Order of Culture are selected from the Persons of Cultural Merit by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, who then recommends the candidates to the Prime Minister. The final decisions are made by the Cabinet.[1]

Persons of Cultural Merit[edit]

The 1951 Law on Pensions for the Persons of Cultural Merit honors persons of cultural merit by providing a special government-sponsored pension. Since 1955, the new honorees have been announced on the same day as the award ceremony for the Order of Culture.[1]

Decoration of Cultural Merit[edit]

In 1943, Hideki Yukawa was honored with the Decoration of Cultural Merit, which was part of an Imperial honors system which predates the present one.[3]

Selected recipients[edit]

See also[edit]



  • Peterson, James W., Barry C. Weaver and Michael A. Quigley. (2001). Orders and Medals of Japan and Associated States. San Ramon, California: Orders and Medals Society of America. ISBN 978-1-890974-09-1

External links[edit]