Art, academia awards go to Yamazaki, Shoji

Actor Tsutomu Yamazaki, art critic Shuji Takashina and cartoonist Sadao Shoji are among the 31 recipients of this spring’s Medal with Purple Ribbon for contributions to the arts and academia, the government was to announce today.

Yamazaki, 63, has acted in a number of movies, television programs and theatrical dramas, including “The Funeral” (1985), “Dandelion” (1986) and “A Taxing Woman” (1987) — all Japanese films directed by the late Juzo Itami.

Takashina, 68, has written many books on art from the Renaissance to the contemporary era, particularly on the history of modern art.

Shoji, 62, is known in Japan for his comic strips featuring the pathos said to be shared by middle-aged male office workers.

The recipients — 27 men and four women — also include actress Yuko Hama, 64, dancer Ayako Ogawa, 68, Hifumi Kato, 60, a professional player of “shogi,” a Japanese game similar to chess, and Kiyoo Ito, 59, an engineer who helped make dynamic random-access memory fit for practical use.

The Medal with Yellow Ribbon for industriousness will go to 293 people — 275 men and 18 women. Of the recipients, Kiyoko Kamiya, 59, of Takahama, Aichi Prefecture, worked as a home helper for 28 years. , while Tatsuto Domoto, 64, of Itsuki, Kumamoto Prefecture, distributed mail in the remote village for 35 years.

The Medal with Blue Ribbon for philanthropy and inventions will go to 434 people — 336 men and 98 women — including Yasuaki Kishida, 66, a barber from Itano, Tokushima Prefecture, who cut hair without pay for 44 years at a home for the elderly.

The 758 recipients will have an audience with the Emperor at the Imperial Palace on either May 16 or May 17.

Japan bestows the medals of honor twice a year, in spring and autumn.