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
  • Arts and Philosophy

The Kyoto Prize laureates are announced each June. The prize presentation ceremony and related events are held in Kyoto, Japan, each November. Each spring, the laureates take part in a symposium in San Diego, California.

Consisting of academic honors, a gold medal and a cash gift of approximately $450,000, the Kyoto Prize is Japan's highest private award for achievement.

History of the Kyoto Prize

In 1984 Kazuo Inamori, the president of the Kyocera Corporation, established the Inamori Foundation and endowed it with approximately 20 billion yen of his personal funds. The foundation began its operations the following year.

“The activities of the Inamori Foundation reflect the lifelong beliefs of its founder that people have no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of humankind and society and that the future of humanity can be assured only when there is a balance between scientific development and the enrichment of the human spirit. The Foundation seeks to actively promote peace and prosperity among all people on earth through the promotion of mutual understanding. It does this through programs of public recognition and the support of creative activities to foster science, culture, and the enrichment of the human spirit, as well as through social contributions.”

~ The Inamori Foundation Objectives

“It is my sincere hope that the activities of the Foundation contribute to the progress and development of humankind and thereby allow me to repay, in some way, my indebtedness to all those in my local community, in my country, and throughout the world who have helped make me and my company what they are today.”

~ Kazuo Inamori

The Kyoto Prize Symposium

The Kyoto Prize Symposium is a three-day celebration of the works of those receiving the Kyoto Prize. Thanks to a grant from the Inamori Foundation, and the many generous supporters, the symposium lectures are open to the public at no charge.

The symposium provides an opportunity for an international audience to learn about the achievements of the laureates and to discuss the relationship between their accomplishments and the common quest for peace and harmony in our world. Each year, the symposium features addresses by the latest Kyoto Prize Laureates and responses by esteemed scholars in the laureates' fields. It includes representatives of business, government, independent peacemaking organizations, and academic institutions and societies.

The first symposium was held at the University of San Diego in 2002. In 2005, the presentation sites were expanded to include the UC San Diego and San Diego State University. A gala celebration has been added as an opening event and forum to introduce the winners of the Kyoto Scholarships, awarded to high school students from San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.

Kazuo Inamori Play Video
Video: Philosophy of the Kyoto Prize

Watch President Kazuo Inamori, Founder of the Inamori Foundation and Chairman Emeritus of Kyocera Corporation, share his thoughts on the philosophy behind the Kyoto Prize.

Kyoto Prize YouTube channel, October 2017.