The Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy

Kyoto Prize Medal_3

< Kyoto Prize Medal, Inamori Foundation, Kyoto, Japan

Click here for the official webpage.

In this fourth feature of our #Prizes in Philosophy series, we take a brief look at the eminent Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy — a USD 530 000 (EUR 413 000 or 50 million yen) prize granted to a living person who has made “outstanding contributions to the progress of science, the advancement of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit”. The prize is divided by four fields awarded in alternating cycles, that include (i) music, (ii) arts (painting, sculpture, craft, architecture, design), (iii) theater and cinema, and (iv) thought and ethics.

Created in 1984, the purpose of the Kyoto Prize is to give recognition to “outstanding achievements” and encourage “academic and cultural development and to contribute to mutual international understanding”. The Prize is meant “to support his belief that there is no higher calling than to work for the greater good of all humankind” and “recognize those dedicated yet unsung people who improve the world through their research, science, and art”. In the following passage, President of The Inamori Foundation, Dr. Kazuo Inamori, expressed it in the following terms:

“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.” — President of Inamori Foundation, Dr. Kazuo Inamori

Candidates for The Prize may only be nominated by “official Kyoto Prize nominators”. These nominators are internationally and domestically recognized experts in Japan selected on an annual basis by the Inamori Foundation. The candidate is selected through a process that includes the Kyoto Prize Selection Committee and the Kyoto Prize Selection Committee for each category in addition to the Kyoto Prize Executive Committee. The selected Laureates are announced every June and award ceremonies are held every November in Kyoto, Japan. A diploma, a 20K gold Kyoto Prize medal and the prize money is presented to the Laureate at the ceremony. The medal features a Camphor tree representing “learning, longevity and the perfection of learning”.

Kyoto Prize Medal upclose

For the list of persons composing the Kyoto Prize Committee, click here.

For the list of persons composing the Kyoto Prize Selection Committee, click here.

The ceremonies also include Kyoto Commemorative Lectures, which are open to public, and Kyoto Prize Workshops followed in the Laureates’ respective fields. We will be reviewing here at Integrating Horizons the Kyoto Ceremonies and the Commemorative Lectures. We will also be reviewing here the work of the past Kyoto Laureates.

Kyoto ceremony

Laureates of the Thought and Ethics field include:

1988 – Paul Thieme

1992 – Karl Popper

1996 – Willard Van Orman Quine

2000 – Paul Ricoeur

2004 – Jürgen Habermas

2008 – Charles Taylor

2012 – Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak


One Comment on “The Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy

  1. Pingback: World Prizes in Philosophy: The Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy | © Integrating Horizons

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