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The Japan Prize is awarded annually to scientists and engineers from around the world who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science and technology, thereby furthering the cause of peace and prosperity of mankind.

The Prize is awarded by the Japan Prize Foundation since 1985.

Each year two fields of scientific endeavor are honored. The Japan Prize laureates receive a certificate of merit and a prize medal. A cash prize of 50 million yen is also awarded for each prize field.

The Presentation Ceremony is held in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan in Tokyo every April. The events are also attended by the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of House of Councilors, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, foreign ambassadors to Japan and about a thousand other distinguished guests, including eminent academics, researchers and representatives of political, business and press circles.



  • "Materials and Production": jointly to: Katalin Karikó (b. 1955). Hungary, USA. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA. & Drew Weissman (b. 1959). USA. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA - For pioneering research contributing to the development of mRNA vaccines.
  • "Biological Production, Ecology/Environment": Christopher Field (b. 1953). USA. Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford U., Stanford CA.- For outstanding contributions to estimation of global biospheric productivity and climate change science using advanced formulas based on observation.


  • Resources, Energy, Environment and Social Infrastructure: Martin Andrew Green (b. 1948) Australia, University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) - "For the Development of High-Efficiency Silicon Photovoltaic Devices.
  • Medical Science and Medicinal Science: jointly to Bert Vogelstein (b. 1949) USA, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore MD. & Robert A. Weinberg (b. 1942) USA, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge MA. - "For their pioneering work in conceptualizing a model of multi-step carcinogenesis and its application and impact on improving cancer diagnosis and therapeutics".

*2020: Because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the 36th Award Ceremony took place in 2021.

  • Electronics, Information, Communication: Robert G. Gallager (b. 1931) USA. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA.
  • Life Science: Svante Pääbo (b. 1955) Sweden/Germany. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.


  • Materials and Production: Yoshio Okamoto (b. 1941). Japan. Harbin Engineering University, China.
  • Biological Production, Ecology: Rattan Lal (b. 1944) USA, The Ohio State University


  • Resources, Energy, Environment and Social Infrastructure: Akira Yoshino (b. 1948) Japan, Meijo University.
  • Medical Science and Medicinal Science: jointly to Max D. Cooper (b. 1933) USA, Emory University & Jacques Miller (b. 1931) Australia, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.



  • Materials and Production: Hideo Hosono (b. 1953) Japan, Tokyo Tech.;
  • Biological Production and Biological Environment: Steven D. Tanksley (b. 1954) USA, Cornell U.


  • Resources, Energy and Social Infrastructure: Yutaka Takahasi (b. 1927) Japan, U. Tokyo;
  • Medical Science and Medicinal Science: jointly to: Theodore Friedmann (b. 1935) USA, UC San Diego, & Alain Fischer (b. 1949) France, Collège de France.




  • Environment, Energy and Infrastructure: Masato Sagawa (b. 1943) Japan, Intermetallics Co., Ltd.;
  • Healthcare and Medical Technology: jointly to: Janet D. Rowley (1925-2013) USA, U. Chicago, & Brian J. Druker (b. 1955) USA, Oregon Health & Science U., & Nicholas B. Lydon (b. 1957) USA, Blueprint Medicines.




  • Transformation towards a Sustainable Society in Harmony with Nature: Dennis L. Meadows (b. 1942) USA, U. New Hampshire;
  • Technological Integration of Medical Science and Engineering: David E. Kuhl (b. 1929) USA, U. Michigan.



  • Innovative Devices Inspired by Basic Research: jointly to: Albert Fert (b. 1938) France. U. of Paris-South, & Peter Grünberg (b. 1939) Germany, The Research Center of Solid State Physics;
  • Science and Technology of Harmonious Co-Existence: Peter Shaw Ashton (b. 1934) UK, Harvard U.


  • Global Change: Sir John Houghton (b. 1931) UK, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction;
  • The Development of Novel Therapeutic Concepts and Technologies: Akira Endo - 遠藤 章 (b. 1933) Japan, Biopharm Research Laboratories, Inc..




  • Science and Technology of Complexity: jointly to: Benoit B. Mandelbrot (1924-2010) USA, Yale U., & James A. Yorke (b. 1941) USA, U. Maryland;
  • Visualizing Techniques in Medicine: Seiji Ogawa - 小川 誠二 (b. 1934) Japan, Hamano Life Science Research Foundation.






  • Generation and Design of New Materials Creating Novel Functions: Leo Esaki (b. 1925) Japan, U. Tsukuba;
  • Biotechnology in Agricultural Sciences: jointly to: Baron Jozef (Jef) S. Schell (1935-2003) Belgium, Max-Planck-Institute für Züechtungsforschung - Germany, & Marc C.E. Van Montagu (b. 1933) Belgium, U. Ghent.


  • Systems Engineering for an Artifactual Environment: jointly to: Joseph F. Engelberger (1925-2015) USA, "Father of Robotics"; HelpMate Robotics Inc. & Hiroyuki Yoshikawa (b. 1933) Japan, U. Tokyo;
  • Biotechnology in Medicine: jointly to: Takashi Sugimura (b. 1926) Japan, Toho U., & Bruce N. Ames (b. 1928) USA, UC Berkeley.


  • Information, Computer and Communication Systems: Charles K. Kao - 高錕 (b. 1933) China-Hong Kong/UK, The Chinese University of Hong Kong;
  • Neuroscience: Masao Ito - 伊藤 正男 (b. 1928) Japan, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research.


  • Materials Processing Technologies: Nick Holonyak, Jr. (b. 1928) USA, U. Illinois;
  • Science and Technology for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery which conserves the Environment: Edward F. Knipling (1909-2000) USA, Agricultural Research Service.



  • Safety Engineering and Disaster Mitigation: Frank Press (b. 1924) USA, President, NAS;
  • Molecular and Cellular Technology in Medicine: Kary B. Mullis (b. 1944) USA, Atomic Tags, Inc.


  • Science and Technology of Material Interfaces: Gerhard Ertl (b. 1936) Germany, Fritz Haber Institute;
  • Science and Technology for Biological Production: Ernest John Christopher Polge (1923-2006) UK, Animal Biotechnology Cambridge Ltd.


  • Applied Mathematics: Jacques-Louis Lions (1928-2001) France, Collège de France;
  • Imaging Techniques in Medicine: John Julian Wild (1914-2009) USA, Physicomedical Institute, Minneapolis.





  • Electro-Optics: Theodore H. Maiman (1927-2007) USA, Hughes Research Labs;
  • Improvement of Biological Functions: jointly to: Henry M. Beachell (1906-2006) USA, International Rice Research Institute & Gurdev S. Khush (b. 1935) India, International Rice Research Institute.


  • Materials Science and Technology: David Turnbull (1915-2007) USA, Harvard U.;
  • Medical Technology: Willem J. Kolff (1911-2009) USA, University of Utah.