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Nobel laureate Akira Yoshino among six selected for Japan's top cultural award

Kyodo

Akira Yoshino, one of three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry, and five other people were selected as this year’s recipients of the Order of Culture, the government said Tuesday.

Others receiving Japan’s top cultural award are kyogen actor Nomura Man, 89, political scientist Takeshi Sasaki, 77, photographer Takeyoshi Tanuma, 90, mathematical engineering scholar Shunichi Amari, 83, and immunologist Shimon Sakaguchi, 68.

Yoshino, a 71-year-old honorary fellow at chemical company Asahi Kasei Corp. and professor at Meijo University, shared this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry with America’s John Goodenough and the U.K.’s Stanley Whittingham for their contributions to the development of lithium-ion batteries.

Nomura, an acclaimed actor of traditional kyogen comic theater, is known for his emotional performances and has worked to spread the appeal of kyogen in Japan and abroad. Scholar Sasaki has researched myriad political thinkers and produced notable works in the field.

Former news photographer Tanuma is known for his artistic works focusing on light, while Amari helped establish the modern information geometry theory and received wide acclaim for his research on neural network theory.

Sakaguchi discovered regulatory T cells, work that has contributed to the medical treatment of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

The Order of Culture will be awarded to the recipients at the Imperial Palace on Culture Day, which falls on Sunday.

Yoshino and 20 others, including movie director Nobuhiko Obayashi, 81, manga artist Moto Hagio, 70, kabuki actor Bando Tamasaburo, 69, and Shigeru Miyamoto, 66, creator of video games such as Super Mario, were also selected as Persons of Cultural Merit for their cultural and scientific contributions to society.

Others recognized as Persons of Cultural Merit include film critic Tadao Sato, 89, lighting designer Motoko Ishii, 81, and classical tanka poet Akiko Baba, 91.

They will be presented with the award at a Tokyo hotel on Nov. 5.

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