Over 893 Prizes! Facts of Great Recipients of NOBEL PRIZE 2016




Every year in October, people talk about the Nobel Prize.

Do you know why it is called the Nobel Prize? When did it begin?

In this article I’m going to briefly introduce what the Nobel Prize is. Also I’ll list some Japanese recipients of the Nobel Prize.


History of the Nobel Prize

Its name “Nobel Prize” comes from Alfred Nobel. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and he wanted the world recognize great contribution on invention and research. Thus he left the will and it was established in 1895.


Nobel Prize consists of 6 categories including Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Peace, Physiology or Medicine. Economic Sciences was added as one of the Prize categories in 1968.





870 individuals and 23 organizations received the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2015. Among individual recipients, 822 of them are men, while only 48 of them are women.


Alfred Nobel

He was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and inventor. He invented dynamite and gained a fortune. One day, however, his brother passed away and people thought he was dead.

A French newspaper wrote ”The merchant of death is dead” and he was shocked. Then he started to be concerned how others think about him after his actual death.


A year before his death, Nobel left the will and stated to use his assets for contributions of great humanity. He bequeathed almost all his fortune for Nobel Prizes (94% of his fortune).





Who were Japanese Recipients of the Nobel Prize?

The very first Japanese recipient was Hideki Yukawa. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics regarding nuclear forces in 1949.

The second recipient was Shin-Ichiro Tomonaga who won the prize in Physics as well. He received the Prize in 1965.

After 3 years of Shin-Ichiro Tomonaga, Yasunari Kawabata won the Prize in Literature. His unique narrative style described Japanese mind well.


The first Japanese recipient in Peace was Eisaku Sato. He was the Prime Minister of Japan and introduced the Three Non- Nuclear Principles.


Susumu Tonegawa won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1987, while Kenzaburo Oe won the Prize in Literature in 1994.


Between 2000 and 2010, all the recipients won the Prize either in Chemistry or Physics.

In 2014, Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura won the Prize in Physics. They invented blue light-emitting diodes (LED).


In 2015, Satoshi Omura won the Prize in Physiology or Medicine, whereas Takaaki Kjita won in Physics.


This year, 2016, Yoshinori Osumi won the Prize in Physiology and Medicine. He has conducted research on autophagy and confirmed that cell would break unnecessary components as a part of natural mechanism.



It’s great to be recognized by others because it motivates you to work and not to give up.

Japan is a small country but there are great researchers, inventors and contributors.

I hope Japanese women win the Nobel Prize during 2010s and so does Haruki Murakami!


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