California-based sculptor Minoru Ohira has received this year's Denchu Hirakushi Award for his works employing materials such as construction waste and dead branches.

Ohira is the first artist residing outside Japan to win the prestigious award, which was established in 1971 with funds donated by Denchu Hirakushi, an influential artist who continued to create sculptures until he died in 1979 at the age of 107.

"Don't you think it's wonderful to see things that were once disposed of and dead recover as art?" Ohira said in an interview when he was in Japan recently.