• Kyodo


Emperor Akihito bestowed the Order of Culture, Japan’s highest honor, on six recipients Saturday during a Culture Day ceremony at the Imperial Palace, including new Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka and globally acclaimed film director Yoji Yamada.

The other four honorees were international law scholar Shigeru Oda, 88, art critic Shuji Takashina, 80, traditional Japanese painter Toshio Matsuo, 86, and Yasuyuki Yamada, 81, an expert on plant cell and molecular biology.

Representing the recipients at the ceremony, Oda, said they would each continue to do their best in their areas of expertise.

“I hope you will continue your efforts to develop your respective fields,” the Emperor told them.

Fifteen people were also designated as Persons of Cultural Merits for the current fiscal year, based on their cultural or scientific contributions to society.

The recipients, to be honored Monday in Tokyo, include legendary “anime” movie director Hayao Miyazaki, 71, kabuki star Matsumoto Koshiro, 70, poet and novelist Takashi Tsujii, 85, and Naohiro Asao, 80, a historian on Japan’s early modern period.

Autumn honors disclosed

Ex-construction minister Taku Yamasaki and former Supreme Court Justice Tatsuo Kainaka are among the 3,941 recipients of this year’s autumn decorations for their contributions to society, the government announced Saturday.

The recipients include 46 foreign nationals from 23 countries and territories, including former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, 73, and former Algerian Ambassador to Japan Abdelmalek Benhabyles, 91.

The highest award, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, went to Yamasaki, 75, a former Lower House lawmaker who also headed the Defense Ministry’s predecessor, the Defense Agency, as well as to Kainaka, 72, who also served as chief of the Tokyo High Prosecutor’s Office.

Manga artist Tetsuya Chiba, 73, actress Yoshiko Sakuma, 73, and jazz pianist Yosuke Yamashita, 70, were meanwhile awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

Of the recipients, 1,703, some 43.2 percent, are from the private sector, and 328, or 8.3 percent, are women. The award ceremony will be held next Thursday at the Imperial Palace, with Emperor Akihito in attendance.

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