Significance of the Prize
Man is a species that has used wisdom to preserve its existence. In modern times, much of that wisdom has come to depend on knowledge derived from academic research. Nowadays, in particular, the rapid development of scientific and technical knowledge owes much to the endeavors of researchers and scientists. Research excellence is recognized through the award of various prizes, of which the Nobel Prize is one. We can say that the pedigree record of recipients reveals, not only to specialists but also to the general public, a history of the unique perspective that characterizes these prizes.
This being the case, what history should the Japan Prize reveal? Considering that the overview of the Japan Prize refers to making concurrent contributions to the progress of science and to human peace and prosperity, it should reveal a history of both scientific and technological progress and a resultant history of peace and prosperity.
Looking back, it is simple to point out the overlapping existence of both of these. Even if, at some point in history, some aspect of science and technology exerted a negative outcome on mankind, over the longer course of time it is indisputable that scientific and technological advances have brought peace and prosperity to humanity.
Through the pedigree record of its recipients, the Japan Prize speaks of a history that combines scientific and technological progress and human peace and prosperity. The Prize is not confined, however, to telling only of developments slowly revealed over the passage of time.
While respecting the various ways science and technology is currently unfolding, the prize endeavours to show history in progress based on a premise that the role of today’s researcher is to create an overlapping history.
It is our sincerest wish that by reaching not just researchers but also the broader population the developments revealed will go on to ensure that science and technology make a substantial contribution to the peace and prosperity of humankind.
Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, Chairman, The Japan Prize Foundation
Japan Prize - Peace and prosperity for mankind
Peace and prosperity for mankind is the common aspiration for all people of the world, and science and technology have played an immense role in this cause. Advancement in science and technology will no doubt continue to provide a powerful underpinning for the future peace and prosperity of the people.
The Japan Prize honors scientists and engineers from around the world whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity.
Since the first presentation ceremony in 1985 to the 29th ceremony to be held this year, 81 eminent scientists from 13 countries around the world have been awarded the prize.
When looking back over the history of the establishment of Japan Prize, I can see that there was a strong desire to “express Japan’s gratitude to international society”. Because Japan, after World War II, wouldn’t have developed into a modern nation so rapidly if it had not been for the wide range of scientific and technological knowledge it learned from abroad. Today, the strong enthusiasm of the first chairman and the initial members of this foundation continue to live on in our hearts.
In April every year, the Japan Prize presentation ceremony and the banquet are held in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and are attended by representatives of the Three Branches of government as well as eminent persons from academic, governmental and political circles. It is a day when the laureates’ outstanding achievements are honored and at the same time, an important day on which we wish for the unlimited advancement of science and technology.
The Japan Prize Foundation will continue to aspire for advancement in science and technology that contributes to the peace and prosperity of mankind by not only through the Japan Prize presentation but also through nurturing young scientists and engineers of tomorrow, and conducting promotional and educational activities in the field of science and technology.
Yoshio Yazaki, President, The Japan Prize Foundation