Professor Higuchi Takayasu is one of the few distinguished Japanese archaeologists who are internationally active in archaeological studies of the Silk Road, China, and ancient Japan-China relations. He is highly esteemed both at home and abroad for his voluminous, wide ranging, consistently innovative and dynamic research.
Professor Higuchi's interest in archaeological studies on the Chinese Continent and Central Asia developed during his student years while he was engaged in surveys and research work on ancient burial mounds scattered throughout the Japanese Islands. In the field of Chinese archaeology, he has devoted himself entirely to the study of ancient bronze wares and mirrors, producing a large body of innovative and creative research. Furthermore, Professor Higuchi has participated in numerous field trips to areas ranging from India and Central Asia to West Asian countries, and has conducted academic research on the Silk Road. Since 1970, as the leader of Kyoto University's scientific mission to Central Asia, he has conducted important surveys of Buddhist ruins, including the ones of Gandhara in Pakistan and Bamiyan in Afghanistan, and produced a number of significant scientific results. Currently, he is leading the excavation at Palmyra, a Syrian trading city of ancient times.
Professor Higuchi has often demonstrated his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of ancient Japan-China relations by raising precise questions in regard to such fields as rice farming, bronze mirrors, horse riding gears and Buddhism in succession. In recent years, he has claimed that the sankakubuchishinjukyo--triangular-rimmed bronze mirrors with mythical figure and animal designs--were specially ordered by the Chinese Dynasty of Wei to be presented to Himiko, female ruler of the early Japanese political federation known as Yamatai. He has further claimed that the Yamatai Kingdom was situated in the Kinki region. Professor Higuchi has made great achievements in surveys and research work in wide ranging fields, constantly emphasizing on the importance of fieldwork and archaeological facts. He has also introduced innovative and creative theories based on his unrestricted way of thinking, thus exerting great influence among archeologists and scholars of Asian ancient history.
Furthermore, Professor Higuchi, as Director of the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture and Chairman of Kyoto Prefecture's Research Center for Cultural Properties Excavation, has tirelessly supported the preservation of world-class cultural heritages. His work in this regard includes the restoration work at the Angkor Wat monuments in Cambodia, the effort to protect Buddhist remains from the devastation of the war in Afghanistan, and his devotion to the preservation of cultural properties of Japan.
Professor Higuchi Takayasu's achievements in the promotion of archaeological studies on the Silk Road and China, and his excellent leadership in shedding light on the history of ancient Japan-China relations are truly monumental contributions, and thus make Professor Higuchi Takayasu especially worthy of receiving the Domestic Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.