Honda Foundation (Hiromori Kawashima, President) has decided to confer the Honda Prize for the year 2003 on Dr. Ken-ichi Mori (65), Ph.D., Adviser to the Board of TOSHIBA TEC CORPORATION, Japan. Dr. Mori will be the 24th recipient of the Honda Prize and forth Japanese to receive the prize.
Dr. Mori studied thoroughly the Japanese grammar and used an engineering approach to “the conversion of kana into kanji” in his efforts to develop a Japanese typewriter, and succeeded in developing the first Japanese word processor. (Translator’s note: “Kana” is so-to-speak the Japanese alphabet and “kanji” is a set of characters developed and used in China and imported into the Japanese language.) This technology not only became the prototype of later Japanese word processors, but also produced decisive impacts as an environment for the use of the Japanese language in the IT revolution. This success in the development of the Japanese word processor was a distant event related with the direct motive for developing the method of processing by computer of not only the Chinese language and other languages of the cultural sphere based on the Chinese characters but also characters other than the alphabet. This technology was applied to many languages of the Asian countries and thus became the model of the development of word processing systems of their countries. And thus this established the methodology of processing languages by computer and became the premise of the current “worldwide common means of communication” through the Internet.
These activities of Dr. Mori meet the concept of “a true technology developed in harmony with the entire environment surrounding the human activities = eco-technology” advocated by Honda Foundation. Dr. Mori will be the 24th recipient of the Honda Prize, and will be awarded a supplementary prize of Ten Million Japanese Yens (¥10,000,000). The awarding ceremony will take place on November 17 (Monday) at Hotel Okura in Tokyo.
The term eco-technology results from the combination of ecology and technology. It is a new technological concept that seeks harmony with the environment surrounding all human activities. This differs from the conventional concept of technology as a means to pursue efficiency and profit.