Order of Culture

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Order of Culture
Order of Culture.png
Neck order of the award
Awarded by the Emperor of Japan
Type Order
Awarded forcontributions to Japanese art, literature, or culture
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignHis Imperial Majesty The Emperor
Gradesone class
Next (higher) Order of the Sacred Treasure
Next (lower) Order of the Precious Crown
JPN Bunka-kunsho BAR.svg
Ribbon of the order

The Order of Culture (文化勲章, Bunka-kunshō) is a Japanese order, established on February 11, 1937. The order has one class only, and may be awarded to men and women for contributions to Japan's art, literature, science, technology, or anything related to culture in general; recipients of the order also receive an annuity for life. The order is conferred by the Emperor of Japan in person on Culture Day (November 3) each year.


The badge of the order, which is in gold with white enamel, is in the form of a Tachibana orange blossom; the central disc bears three crescent-shaped jades ( magatama ). The badge is suspended on a gold and enamel wreath of mandarin orange leaves and fruit, which is in turn suspended on a purple ribbon worn around the neck.

System of recognition

Kabuki actor Nakamura Kichiemon I was awarded the Order of Culture in 1951. He was the first kabuki performer to be accorded this honor. Kichiemon Nakamura I 1951.jpg
Kabuki actor Nakamura Kichiemon I was awarded the Order of Culture in 1951. He was the first kabuki performer to be accorded this honor.

The Order of Culture and Persons of Cultural Merit function together in honoring contributions to the advancement and development of Japanese culture in a variety of fields such as academia, arts and others. [1]

Order of Culture

The Emperor himself presents the honor at the award ceremony, which takes place at the Imperial Palace on the Day of Culture (November 3). Candidates for the Order of Culture are selected from the Persons of Cultural Merit by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, upon hearing views of all the members of the selection committee for the Persons of Cultural Merit. The Minister then recommends the candidates to the Prime Minister so that they can be decided by the Cabinet. [1]

Persons of Cultural Merit

The system for Persons of Cultural Merit was established in 1951 by the Law on Pensions for the Persons of Cultural Merit. The purpose is to honor persons of cultural merit by providing a special government-sponsored pension. Since 1955, the new honorees have been announced on the Day of Culture, the same day as the award ceremony for the Order of Culture. [1]

Selected recipients

From left to right: Tasuku Honjo, Susumu Nakanishi, Ikuta Takagi, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Shun-ichi Iwasaki, and Ken Takakura Tasuku Honjo Susumu Nakanishi Ikuta Takagi Shinzo Abe Shunichi Iwasaki and Goichi Oda 20131103.jpg
From left to right: Tasuku Honjo, Susumu Nakanishi, Ikuta Takagi, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Shun-ichi Iwasaki, and Ken Takakura

A complete list can be found here. [2]



  • Masaru Ibuka (1908–1997). Co-founder, President and Chairman of Sony Corporation. [13]
























Known to have declined the honor


See also


  1. 1 2 3 Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan): Culture 2000, Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 2.1
  2. 文化勲章受章者一覧 Archived 2016-09-13 at the Wayback Machine Nifty
  3. Fukuoka Medical School:
  4. 中村吉右衛門 (初代) Archived 2012-10-22 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Honor awarded 1979 -- Strom, Stephanie. Nakamura Utaemon VI, 84, International Star of Kabuki", New York Times 4 April 2001.
  6. "市川市|市川市名誉市民・市民栄誉賞". www.city.ichikawa.lg.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  7. "Kaii Higashiyama Exhibition - 宮城県公式ウェブサイト". www.pref.miyagi.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  8. Honor awarded 1944 -- Junijiro Takakusu Archived 2007-10-24 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Honor awarded 1981 -- "Kenjiro Takayanagi, Electrical Engineer, 91", New York Times, 25 July 1990.
  10. Honor awarded 1965 -- Sanjo City website Archived 2009-04-28 at the Wayback Machine : Morohashi Tetsuji Museum Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
  11. Frängsmyr, Tore. (1993). Nobel Lectures in Physiology or Medicine, 1981-1990, p. 380.
  12. Honor awarded in 1960 -- "Yoshikawa Eiji, in Encyclopædia Britannica. (2006).
  13. "Sony Global-Press Release-Masaru Ibuka 1908-1997", Sony Press Release Archive, Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  14. "Takashi Asahina, 93; Musical Director of Orchestra in Japan", Los Angeles Times, 31 December 2001.
  15. NEC (2 October 2002). "Brief Summary of Recipients' Careers". Press release. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  16. 1 2 Rockefeller University (October 26, 1995). "Japanese Government Honors Rockefeller University Professor for Cancer Research". Press release. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  17. "Hanae Mori", Japan Times Online, 23 October 2007.
  18. 1 2 "Order of Culture Awarded", Japan Foundation Newsletter, Vol. XXV, No. 6, March, 1998, page 6. (PDF) Archived 2012-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
  19. 1 2 "Order of Culture", Japan Foundation Newsletter, Vol. XXVI, No. 4, February, 1999, page 7. (PDF) Archived 2012-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
  20. 1 2 "Prime Minister Attends Order of Culture Award Ceremony", Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet (official website), November 3, 1999.
  21. "Thursday, November 11". japan.kantei.go.jp. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  22. 1 2 3 "Nobel chemist to get Order of Culture", Japan Times Online, 25 October 2000.
  23. 1 2 "Five pioneers to receive Order of Culture awards", Japan Times Online, October 31, 2001.
  24. 1 2 3 "Emperor honors six in culture, science", Japan Times Online, November 4, 2002.
  25. 1 2 3 "Ogata, Ooka and others to receive Order of Culture", Japan Times Online, October 29, 2003.
  26. "Seal engraver, kabuki actor among honored cultural contributors", Forum Japon, October 29, 2004.
  27. 1 2 "Five honored with Order of Culture", Japan Times Online, November 4, 2005.
  28. Arata receives award from Emperor of Japan on ISCMNS
  29. 1 2 "Writing nun gets culture award", Japan Times Weekly Online, November 11, 2006.
  30. "Kyogen actor, four others chosen for culture awards". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. 28 October 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  31. 1 2 "Kyogen actor, four others accept top culture awards", Japan Times Online, November 4, 2007.
  32. 1 2 "Gov't decorates 3 Nobel winners, Seiji Ozawa, Donald Keene, 3 others", Japan Today, October 29, 2008.
  33. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Honor awarded 2008 -- "Donald Keene, 7 others win Order of Culture," Yomiuri Shimbun. October 29, 2008.
  34. 1 2 "Beicho, Tojuro among 5 recipients of year's top culture award", Seek Japan, October 27, 2009.
  35. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Nobelists Suzuki, Negishi get Order of Culture," Japan Times. October 27, 2010, retrieved 2011-04-20.
  36. Onishi, Norimitsu (May 17, 2008). "The Saturday Profile: Released From Rigors of a Trial, a Nobel Laureate's Ink Flows Freely". New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  37. "杉村春子 自分で選んだ道ですもの". Nikkei Style. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  38. "Hidden Secrets about Japan culture and traditions" . Retrieved March 21, 2021.

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