|Japan Academy Prize
The Japan Academy was established in 1879, modeled on the British Royal Academy. It is a group
of distinguished scholars, most of whom are involved in the sciences. The members receive a life
stipend, and election to the Academy is usually considered to be one of the highest achievements
attainable. Currently, the Academy is attached to the Japanese Ministry of Education.
The Academy offers four prizes: The Imperial Academy Prize (恩賜賞 Onshi-shou; est. 1911), the
Japan Academy Prize (学士院賞 Gakushiin-shou; est. 1911), the Japan Academy Scientific
Encouragement Prize (学術奨励賞 Gakujutsushourei-shou; est. 2005), and the Duke of Edinburgh
Prize. The latter was established by the Duke for Japanese scientists who contribute to research
concerned with wildlife. This prize began in 1987.
The higher-ranked Imperial Academy Prize is given to a scholar who has also received the Japan
Academy Prize but has contributed an extraordinary amount of knowledge to his/her field. The
Japan Academy Scientific Encouragement Prize is given to scholars for published work or
research, and it is usually given to younger people as, as its title explains, an encouragement for
further studies. This award can be given to as many as five people each year, and the recipients
are drawn from the group of scholars who have received the Japan Society for the Promotion of
Science Prize. (The latter group is a non-profit institution established in 1932 by the Showa
The Japan Academy Prize (shown here) is given to as many as nine recipients each year. Since
1949 the Emperor of Japan has attended the award ceremony, and since 1990 both the Emperor
and Empress have attended. The 100th anniversary of the prize has just passed, and in that
span of time about 674 medals have been awarded. The prize consists of a certificate, a medal,
and a gift of one million yen.