Kawaoka to receive Japan Academy award, presented by Emperor and Empress

By Kelly April Tyrell, UW-Madison

Photo: Jeff Miller, UW-Madison

Photo: Jeff Miller, UW-Madison

It isn’t every day that a University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher is presented an award by the Emperor and Empress of Japan, but on June 27 the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Yoshihiro Kawaoka will be able to add that to his credentials.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will honor Kawaoka with a scientific achievement award in the field of agriculture from the Japan Academy, which is celebrating its 106th annual ceremony.

“It is like the United States’ National Academy of Sciences, the Japan Academy,” says Kawaoka. “The academy has different divisions and it can nominate individuals for awards each year. … It’s a big deal in Japan.”

Each year, the members of the Japan Academy nominate and award multiple Japanese researchers for the Japan Academy Prize and the Imperial Prize. The agency says on its website that those chosen for the award from among the nominees are selected because they have “achieved notable research landmarks” or have “authored particularly outstanding academic papers or books.”

Like an award he received in 2015 from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Kawaoka was chosen by the Japan Academy for his fundamental studies of the influenza virus leading to improved vaccines and better understanding of pandemic flu. He will receive a certificate, medal and prize money totaling 1 million yen (roughly $10,000). Read more …