Emperor Akihito awarded this year’s Order of Culture, Japan’s most prestigious honor in the field of culture and science, to six recipients in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace on Culture Day Sunday.

The six were Koichi Tanaka, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, economist Ryutaro Komiya, aerospace engineer Jiro Kondo, film director Kaneto Shindo, novelist Sonoko Sugimoto and glass-work artist Kyohei Fujita.

The Emperor said, “I hope you take good care of yourselves and I hope each of you continues to make great efforts for the development of your respective fields.”

Speaking on behalf of the recipients, Shindo, 90, said, “We, the recipients, are determined to make further efforts in our respective fields so that we are worthy of the awards.”

Tanaka, 43, won the Nobel Prize for his contributions to the study of proteins, which has paved the way for the development of new medicines and the early diagnosis of cancer.

Komiya, 73, professor at Aoyama Gakuin University and professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, was honored for his studies in economic theories and the postwar development of the Japanese economy.

Kondo, 85, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, was cited for his achievements in advancing the development of the YS-11, Japan’s first domestic passenger plane.

Shindo has made numerous films that have won critical acclaim, while Fujita, 81, has introduced contemporary perspectives into traditional Japanese aesthetics and is highly regarded for his works featuring colored glass and gold leaf.

Sugimoto, 77, is known for the scope and detail of her historical novels.

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