Scientist, U.S. professor awarded 2000 Japan Prize

A Japanese scientist and a U.S. professor were announced as the recipients of the 2000 Japan Prize on Wednesday in Tokyo.

The annual award is given to individuals whose work in the field of science and technology has contributed “toward the happiness of mankind and world peace.”

Ian McHarg, professor emeritus at the department of landscape architecture and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, was selected for his work in introducing environmental concerns into city planning.

Kimishige Ishizaka, president emeritus at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, was chosen for demystifying some of the underlying mechanics of allergies and for discovering Immunoglobulin E.

McHarg was selected in the city planning category from 164 nominees and Ishizaka was selected from more than 170 in the host defense category.

McHarg, a landscape architect, devised a method of classifying and evaluating ecological factors so they can be incorporated into decisions for using land.

Ishizaka discovered Immunoglobulin E, a protein that causes allergic responses. His research contributed to clinical testing and treatment of allergies.

Ishizaka, who lives in Yamagata Prefecture, said that he was surprised at his selection, adding that he retired from his official position four years ago.

Asked about what Japan could do in terms of ecological city planning, McHarg advocated reviving nature-friendly traditions from the past.

“Until the beginning of the last century, Japan was renowned worldwide for the veneration of nature by its people,” he said. “There should be a deep commitment to rediscover the origins of the Japanese cultural traditions.”

Ishizaka and McHarg will each receive 50 million yen and bring the total number of Japan Prize recipients to 43 since its inception in 1985.

The two laureates will be honored at a presentation ceremony on Friday evening to be attended by the Emperor and the Empress.