Kyoto Prize

Kyoto Prize
Inamori Foundation > Kyoto Prize


Since I founded Kyocera Corporation in 1959, I have devoted my life as a ceramic engineer to the development of a variety of ceramic materials, such as electronic ceramics, engineering ceramics, and structural ceramics. I believe that this work has contributed significantly to the establishment of our present-day era of fine ceramics.
This year, 1984, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Kyocera’s founding. After a quarter of a century of relentless and painstaking effort, Kyocera’s annual sales have, by the grace of God, grown to 230 billion yen, with pre-tax profits of 53 billion yen.(*1) It has been my lifelong belief that a human being has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of humanity and the world. In keeping with this conviction, I have decided on this occasion to create the Kyoto Prize as a means of recognizing persons who have made outstanding contributions to the progress of science, the advancement of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit. This award will be granted by the Inamori Foundation, which I have endowed with 20 billion yen (*2) in cash and Kyocera stock.
Those worthy of the Kyoto Prize will be people who have, as have we at Kyocera, worked humbly and devotedly, sparing no effort to seek perfection in their chosen professions. They will be individuals who are sensitive to their own human fallibility and who thereby hold a deeply rooted reverence for excellence. Their achievements will have contributed substantially to the cultural, scientific, and spiritual betterment of mankind. Perhaps most importantly, they will be people who have sincerely aspired through the fruits of their labors to bring true happiness to humanity.
I have two major reasons for establishing the Kyoto Prize. First, in keeping with my aforementioned belief that we on Earth have no higher calling than to serve the greater good of humankind and society, I wish in some way to repay the global community that has sustained and nurtured me all these years. Second, I would like to redress the relative lack of formal recognition for highly dedicated but unsung researchers. At the very least, I hope to honor people who have made extraordinary contributions to science, civilization, and spirituality and thereby to motivate them and others like them to reach still greater heights.
I am convinced that the future of humanity can be assured only through a balance of scientific progress and spiritual depth. Though today’s technology-based civilization is advancing rapidly, there is a deplorable lag in inquiry into our spiritual nature. I believe that the world is composed of mutual dichotomies—pluses and minuses, such as the yin and the yang or darkness and light. Only through the awareness and nourishment of both sides of these dualisms can we achieve a complete and stable equilibrium. The progression or expansion of any one aspect alone without the other will inevitably upset the natural balance of the universe and contribute to human suffering. It is my sincere hope that the Kyoto Prize may serve to encourage the cultivation of both our scientific and spiritual sides. At the same time, nothing would be more gratifying than if it provided some small impetus for the construction of a new philosophical paradigm.
April 12, 1984

Kazuo Inamori

(*1) As per Kyocera’s financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1984.

(*2) As of 1984, at the time of the establishment of the Inamori Foundation.

About Kyoto Prize

1. The Kyoto Prize is an international award to honor those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind. The Prize is presented annually in each of the following three categories: Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy.

2. Laureates shall in principle be individuals (one person per category). However, in special cases a single Prize may be shared among more than one person. Selection is made without regard to nationality, race, sex, age, or religion. Each laureate is presented with a diploma, a 20K gold Kyoto Prize medal, and prize money of 100 million yen per category.

3. Each Kyoto Prize category comprises four fields. The specific fields to be awarded in a given year are determined each year.

Categories / Fields

  • Advanced Technology


    *Biotechnology and Medical Technology

    *Materials Science and Engineering

    *Information Science

  • Basic Sciences

    *Biological Sciences (Evolution, Behavior, Ecology, Environment)

    *Mathematical Sciences (including Pure Mathematics)

    *Earth and Planetary Sciences, Astronomy and Astrophysics

    *Life Sciences (Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology)

  • Arts and Philosophy


    *Arts (Painting, Sculpture, Craft, Architecture, Photography, Design, etc.)

    *Theater, Cinema

    *Thought and Ethics

4. Candidates for the Kyoto Prize are nominated by official Kyoto Prize nominators, who are selected annually by the Inamori Foundation from among recognized domestic and international authorities.

5. Selection of the laureates is conducted fairly and impartially by the Kyoto Prize Selection Organization, comprising three steps: a separate Kyoto Prize Selection Committee and Kyoto Prize Committee for each category, plus the Kyoto Prize Executive Committee.

6. The Kyoto Prize laureates are announced each June; the Kyoto Prize presentation ceremony and related events are held in Kyoto, Japan, each November.


Kyoto Prize Official Website

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