10 Award-Winning Scientists From Japan To Watch

From biomedicine to particle physics, these ten award-winning scientists from Japan are making an impact across the globe with their discoveries.

AsianScientist (Jul. 31, 2018) – Japan has always been known as a leader in technology and innovation. From high-speed trains to electronics and androids, the Land of the Rising Sun keeps on churning out one breakthrough technology after another.

The country was also the first Asian nation to win a Nobel Prize, when Hideki Yukawa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1949 for predicting the presence of particles called mesons. Of the 26 Nobel Prizes that Japan has won, 11 were for Physics, seven for Chemistry and four for Physiology or Medicine. Most recently, in 2016, Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery of how autophagy works.

Here are ten Japanese scientists from the 2018 Asian Scientist 100 list who are making an impact in their respective research fields.

  1. Seiji Ogawa

    Photo: Tohoku Fukushi University

    For his pioneering work in establishing the basic principles underlying functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Ogawa was awarded the 2017 Keio Medical Science Prize.

  2. Shimon Sakaguchi

    Photo: Osaka University

    Together with Fred Ramsdell and Alexander Rudensky, Sakaguchi was awarded the 2017 Crafoord Prize in Polyarthritis for his discovery of regulatory T-cells.

  3. Mitsuo Sawamoto

    Photo: Franklin Institute

    A pioneer in the field of polymer science, Sawamoto received the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry for developing living polymers that can be reactivated. His technique of introducing free radical deactivators to the polymerization process allows scientists to control the reaction, and has been used to make improved coatings, dispersants and composites for commercial, biomedical and environmental applications.

  4. Takashi Mimura

    Photo: Kyoto Prize Foundation

    Mimura was recognized for his invention of high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) with the 2017 Kyoto Prize. By constraining electrons within an ultrathin layer, HEMTs have contributed to the study of electrons with reduced dimensions.

  5. Shigeki Goto

    Photo: Asia Pacific Advanced Network

    In 2017, Goto was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame as a Global Connector for his role in expanding the internet in the Asia Pacific and promoting multilingual domain name standards.

  6. Tetsuya Higashimaya

    Photo: Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules

    Higashiyama, vice director of the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, won the 2017 Kihara Memorial Foundation Academic Award for his discovery of the molecules that guide pollen tube formation.

  7. Shigetou Namba

    Photo: University of Tokyo

    Namba was awarded the 2017 Japan Academy Prize for his pioneering crystallographic research that has helped to shed light on the flagella and secretion systems of medically important bacteria.

  8. Yashuhiko Arakawa

    Photo: International Commission for Optics

    Arakawa won the 2017 Japan Academy Prize for his pioneering research on quantum dots, which are semiconductor nanostructures that are now being used in lasers and photonic devices.

  9. Toshimitsu Yokobori

    Photo: Tohoku University

    Yokobori was awarded the 2017 Japan Academy Prize for developing theories that can be used to predict metal fatigue as well as estimate blood vessel elasticity.

  10. Fumihiko Takasaki

    Photo: Reidar Hahn

    A central figure in the B-factory accelerator project at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, Takasaki was awarded the 2017 Japan Academy Prize for providing experimental proof of the asymmetry between particles and antiparticles.


    Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Shutterstock.
    Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Shai Panela is an award-winning freelance science journalist based in the Philippines. She was part of the Asian Science Journalism fellowship program of the World Federation of Science Journalists in 2013 and covers stories in science, health, technology and the environment.

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