Award Citation

Dr. Nakane Chie is a leading Japanese social anthropologist. While living in China as a child, she became interested in other countries. After reading the works of Sven Hedin, the Swedish explorer, she decided to major in anthropology.

After graduating from Tsuda College, she proceeded to the University of Tokyo where she studied Oriental History, specializing in China and Tibet. In 1952, she graduated from the postgraduate school of the University of Tokyo, and joined the University's Institute of Oriental Culture as an assistant.

After spending the period of 1953-57 in Assam, India, she went to Europe with a lot of research data. There, she furthered her studies in social anthropology in London's School of Economics, and her Tibetan studies in Rome under Professor Tucci, an acknowledged authority on Tibetan studies.

Her early work, "Mikai no Kao, Bunmei no Kao" (The Uncivilized, The Civilized), published in 1959, enhanced the Japanese's interest in different cultures. At the same time, she impressed people by her enthusiastic experiments which linked field research to convincing theories that covered large areas of the globe.

Later, her academic interest extended to all of Asia. Supported by her abundant research data and convincing theories, she succeeded in capturing the social characteristics of Asian tribes, and her success helped advance the study of social anthropology in Japan. Her quintessential theories, such as Matrilineal Systems, Family and Social Structures, have been recognized as a clear description of the essence of Japanese society.

In particular, her book "Human Relations in A Vertical Society" (1967) has been highly praised and was translated into English in Britain as "Japanese Society". Since then, it has been translated into French, Chinese and many other languages.

The impact of this book has been so great that the phrase "vertical society" is now understood by many people in the world. This distinguished work not only depicts Japanese society vividly, but also provided a positive comparative analysis. These features have made both the author and the book famous in Japan and the world.

After becoming the Director of the Institute of Oriental Culture at the University of Tokyo, Dr. Nakane, employed her broad network of acquaintances and organizational ability, to conducting numerous research projects and to training young researchers.

Furthermore, she has played, and continues to play, an active role in international conferences. She was also the Vice-Chairperson of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences.

Professor Chie Nakane's achievements in scientific research have been assessed as contributing greatly to the understanding of Asia, thus without any doubt making her worthy of the Academic Prize - Domestic of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.