The government on Monday announced recipients of its biannual awards, with nonpublic officials accounting for a record high 35 percent of the 4,624 Japanese honored.

Also receiving awards this spring are 32 foreigners, the government said.

The highest decoration this spring, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, went to seven people, including five members of the House of Representatives and Shoichiro Toyoda, 77, former chairman of Japan’s top automaker Toyota Motor Corp., the Cabinet Office said.

The decoration is the third highest of the order.

Kohei Kobayashi, 74, chairman of Japan’s major train operator Hankyu Corp., and former Tokyo Electric Power Co. Chairman Sho Nasu, 77, were among 11 people awarded the fourth highest Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

Former Syrian Culture Minister Najah Al-Attar and former head of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce Henri Charles Ahlborn also received the same decoration, making them the highest-ranked foreign recipients.

In the art and entertainment fields, the government awarded veteran film director Yoji Yamada, 70, the ninth highest Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

He is known for the long-running movie series titled, “It’s tough to be a man,” in which deceased actor Kiyoshi Atsumi played the role of a hapless but warm-hearted “Tora-san.”

Noted rakugo storyteller Katsura Bunji, 78, whose real name is Tasuo Sekiguchi, was also given the decoration.

The number of female recipients came to 311, including eight foreigners.

The 32 foreign recipients are from 19 countries. The 19 include Iceland and Luxembourg, whose nationals received the Japanese decoration for the first time, the Cabinet Office said.

Medals with ribbon

Tetsuya Chiba, a noted “manga” cartoonist, and veteran actress Junko Ikeuchi are among the 35 people who will receive Japan’s Medal with Purple Ribbon this spring for contributions to the arts and academics, the Cabinet Office said Sunday.

The government will also bestow the Medal with Yellow Ribbon on 275 people for their noteworthy devotion to a single job, and 48 others will receive the Medal with Blue Ribbon for their philanthropic acts or contributions to the public.

There are a record 148 women among the 796 medal recipients, it said. The Cabinet Office, which made the selections based on recommendations from ministries and agencies, encouraged governmental bodies to select more women, a government official said.

Chiba, 63, is being honored for writing and illustrating several manga series depicting heroes leading enthusiastic and sincere lives.

Actress Ikeuchi, whose real name is Sumiko Nakazawa, 68, is being feted for her portrayals of reserved but tough women in a number of TV dramas and films.

The purple ribbon medal will also be bestowed on Eiko Ishioka, 63, one of Japan’s top female graphic designers.

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