Anime director Hayao Miyazaki was among the 15 recipients of this year's Person of Cultural Merit honor for his longtime contributions to Japan's arts and culture, the Agency for Cultural Affairs has announced.
The first anime director to receive the honor, Miyazaki attended the ceremony on Culture Day on Nov. 3.
In addition, six individuals received the Order of Culture decoration. Painters, novelists and critics were among those selected for the two accolades this year.
Miyazaki started working in the anime industry in the 1960s and created a number of popular and critically acclaimed works, including feature films "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind," and the TV series "Conan, The Boy in Future."
His 2001 feature "Spirited Away" won the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards. He is unquestionably one of Japan's most internationally renowned anime directors.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs established the Person of Cultural Merit award in 1951.
Manga pioneer Ryuichi Yokoyama received the honor in 1994, followed by Shigeru Mizuki, creator of horror manga "Gegege no Kitaro," in 2010.
The choice of Miyazaki for this year's honor reflects the agency's current efforts to promote anime and manga as culture.
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