Person of Cultural Merit ( is an official Japanese recognition and , ) bunka k?r?sha honor which is awarded annually to select people who have made outstanding cultural contributions. This distinction is intended to play a role as a part of a system of support measures for the promotion of creative activities in Japan. By 1999, 576 people had been selected as Persons of Cultural Merit. 
System of recognition
The Order of Culture and Persons of Cultural Merit function in tandem to honor those who have contributed to the advancement and development of Japanese culture in a variety of fields, including academia, arts, science
and sports.  
Order of Culture
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, who then recommends the candidates to the Prime Minister. The final decisions are made by the Cabinet. 
Persons of Cultural Merit
Law on Pensions for the Persons of Cultural Merit honors persons of cultural merit by providing a special government-sponsored pension. Since 1955, the new honorees have been announced on the same day as the award ceremony for the Order of Culture. 
Makoto Asashima, developmental biologist. 
Seiji Ozawa, conductor. 
Hisao Domoto, abstract painter
Toru Funamura, composer. 
Toshi Ichiyanagi, composer. 
Akira Isogai, bio-organic chemistry researcher. 
Tota Kaneko, haiku poet. 
Asami Maki, choreographer. 
Makoto Nagao, information engineering. 
Tomijuro Nakamura, Kabuki actor. 
Tatsuo Nishida, linguist. 
Man Nomura, Kyogen actor. 
Sayume Okuda, craftswoman. 
Hiroyuki Sakaki, electronic engineer. 
Koichi Shimoda, physicist. 
Kiichi Sumikawa, sculptor. 
Kenichi Tominaga, economic sociologist. 
Naoya Shiga (1951), author. 
Hideki Yukawa (1951), physicist. 
Masuji Ibuse (1966), author (for the work Black Rain).
Haruko Sugimura (1974), actress.
Susumu Tonegawa (1983), medical researcher. 
Hisaya Morishige (1984), actor.
Fuku Akino (1991), Nihonga painter. 
Ryotaro Shiba (1991), writer. 
Isuzu Yamada (1993), actress.
Migishi Setsuko (1994), painter. 
Mitsuko Mori (1998), actress.
Koji Nakanishi (1999), chemist.
Marius Berthus Jansen (1999), historian. 
Ito Masami (2000), judge. 
Ishimura Uzaemon XVII (2000), Kabuki actor. 
Shotaro Yasuoka (2001), writer. 
Donald Keene (2002), educator. 
Shozo Shimada (2004), artist.
Ken Takakura (2006), actor.
Tatsuya Nakadai (2007), actor.
Makoto Asashima (2008), biologist.
Nakamura Tomijyuro V (2008), Kabuki actor. 
Taiho Koki (2009), sumo wrestler 
Yoshihide Kozai (2009), astronomer.
Sayuri Yoshinaga (2010), actress.
Hideji ?taki (2011), actor.
Matsumoto K?shir? IX (2012), Kabuki actor.
Hayao Miyazaki (2012), film director, animator, manga artist, producer, and screenwriter. 
Shun'ichi Amari (2012), mathematician.
Hiroko Takenishi (2012), author.
Mitsumasa Anno (2012), artist, children's author.
Nobutaka Hirokawa (2013), neuroscientist and cell biologist.
Tamio Yamakawa (2014), biochemist 
Tsuneko Okazaki (2015), molecular biologist 
Tsumura Setsuko (2016), novelist 
Nakamura Kichiemon II (2017), Kabuki actor.
Mutsuo Takahashi (2017), poet.
Hisashi Yamamoto (2018), chemist.
Moto Hagio (2019), manga artist.  Shigeru Miyamoto (2019), video game developer.  
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The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, back cover notes.
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"Hayao Miyazaki receives Person of Cultural Merit honor". The Asahi Shimbun. Anime Anime Japan Ltd. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013 . Retrieved 2013.
Suzuki, Kunihiko (2019). "Obituary: Dr. Tamio Yamakawa (1921-2018)". Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B. 95 (2): 86-87. doi: 10.2183/pjab.95.008. PMC . 6403434
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References Peterson, James W., Barry C. Weaver and Michael A. Quigley. (2001). Orders and Medals of Japan and Associated States. San Ramon, California: Orders and Medals Society of America. ISBN 978-1-890974-09-1