The Order of Culture (文化勲章,Bunka-kunshō) is a Japaneseorder, established on February 11, 1937. The order has one class only, and may be awarded to men and women for contributions to Japan's art, literature, science, technology, or anything related to culture in general; recipients of the order also receive an annuity for life. The order is conferred by the Emperor of Japan in person on Culture Day (November 3) each year.
The badge of the order, which is in gold with white enamel, is in the form of a Tachibana orange blossom; the central disc bears three crescent-shaped jades (magatama). The badge is suspended on a gold and enamel wreath of mandarin orange leaves and fruit, which is in turn suspended on a purple ribbon worn around the neck.
Kabuki actor Nakamura Kichiemon I was awarded the Order of Culture in 1951. He was the first kabuki performer to be accorded this honor.
The Order of Culture and Persons of Cultural Merit function together in honoring contributions to the advancement and development of Japanese culture in a variety of fields such as academia, arts and others.
Order of Culture
The Emperor himself presents the honor at 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, upon hearing views of all the members of the selection committee for the Persons of Cultural Merit. The Minister then recommends the candidates to the Prime Minister so that they can be decided by the Cabinet.
The system for Persons of Cultural Merit was established in 1951 by the Law on Pensions for the Persons of Cultural Merit. The purpose is to honor persons of cultural merit by providing a special government-sponsored pension. Since 1955, the new honorees have been announced on the Day of Culture, the same day as the award ceremony for the Order of Culture.