Social anthropologist Chie Nakane and four others will be conferred this year’s Order of Culture by the Emperor, the government announced Tuesday.
The other four recipients are electronics expert Hiroo Inokuchi, virologist Kumao Toyoshima, painter Tadashi Moriya and Toshio Yodoi, a sculptor.
The Emperor will present the awards at the Imperial Palace on Saturday, which is designated Culture Day.
Nakane, 74, is a pioneer of social anthropology in Japan and the author of a number of books on Japanese society and its structure. Her work involves comparisons of Japanese society with Western and other Asian societies.
She is a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo and a native of Tokyo.
Inokuchi, 74, discovered that some organic compounds conduct electricity and became a pioneer in molecular electronics by developing an organic semiconductor. The Hiroshima Prefecture native is chief scientist of the Space Utilization Research Program at the National Space Development Agency of Japan.
Toyoshima, 71, discovered genes that can cause cancer and contributed to its treatment. An antibody developed from his research is used in cancer treatment. Toyoshima, from Osaka Prefecture, is also a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo.
Moriya, 89, from Gifu Prefecture, is known for his “reinterpretations” of a number of Japanese historical paintings. He also developed a new style of rendering Japanese historical paintings.
Yodoi, 90, is known for his dynamic sculptures, mainly featuring humans or animals, and introduced a new plaster technique. He is from Hyogo Prefecture.
The government also announced the 15 winners of this year’s awards for “persons of cultural merit for distinguished services in the field of culture.”
Among them are: conductor Seiji Ozawa, 66; former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, 74; and novelist Shotaro Yasuoka, 81; and veteran kabuki actor Nakamura Jakuemon, 81.
An awards ceremony for the 15 will be held at Hotel Okura in Tokyo on Monday.