Twelve distinguished figures, including eight foreigners, received awards Friday from the Cultural Affairs Agency for their efforts in cultural exchange and promotion of Japanese culture abroad.

At a ceremony in Tokyo, Agency Commissioner Seiichi Kondo presented seven of the recipients with the "commissioner's awards," which commend the work of individuals involved in long-term promotion of Japanese culture overseas.

Among the recipients were John Einarsen, founder of the English-language magazine Kyoto Journal, and photojournalist and writer Everett Kennedy Brown.