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Japan selects five recipients for prestigious Order of Culture

Kyodo

The government said Friday it has selected five people to receive the country’s top cultural award this year, including 84-year-old playwright and critic Masakazu Yamazaki.

The other four who will receive the Order of Culture, which is also given to prominent researchers and scientists, are composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, 85, pottery artist Masayuki Imai, 87, tax law expert Hiroshi Kaneko, 87, and information engineering researcher Makoto Nagao, 82.

Twenty others, including kabuki actor Kataoka Nizaemon, 74, composer Shinichiro Ikebe, 75, and calligrapher Keido Ishige, 82, were selected as Persons of Cultural Merit for their contributions to society.

The Order of Culture will be presented to the recipients at the Imperial Palace on Nov. 3, while the Persons of Cultural Merit will be presented at a Tokyo hotel on Nov. 5.

The award typically goes to newly named Nobel laureates, but 76-year-old Tasuku Honjo — who won this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine — already received the cultural honor in fiscal 2013.