I think that everybody who watches those puppet theater dramas will naturally feel the greatness of the spiritual aspect of the human being. So, indirectly, I believe that those parts are contributing factors to the international peace.
What distinguishes the Kyoto Prizes from the Nobel Prizes, and how do they complement each other?
First of all, the Nobel Prize was established mainly for commending the researchers in basic sciences. I have the background of an engineer. That is why I am interested in commending the researchers in advanced technology or the engineers in advanced technology.
Because in my belief, advanced-technology achievements are equal to [those in] basic sciences. Therefore, those people who are doing this research are also to be commended. That is why advanced technology is added. That was the motivation for the Kyoto Prize program. And also I believe that complements the Nobel Prize [program].
The second category is basic science. Of course basic science is a major category for the Nobel Prize. But the Nobel Prize does not cover all subcategoriesfor example, mathematics. Therefore, I wanted to cover those areas not covered by the Nobel Prize in the basic sciences.
The third [category] is art and philosophy. It's not covered at all by the Nobel Prize. That is why I made it into the third category, and that is why I believe that this is complementary.
This year marks the beginning of the Kyoto Youth Scholar Discovery Awards, which aims to raise awareness of the Kyoto Prizes among high school students in the United States and Mexico. How do you envision this program evolving to promote the spirit of the Kyoto Prizes?
In San Diego, we have the San Diego Kyoto Laureate Symposiumhaving the laureates here and a discussion with the people. The local universities in San Diego and business people got together in San Diego, and they had a discussion as to how they can contribute to the Kyoto Prize Symposium.
At the same time they discussed how to raise awareness of the Kyoto Prize. These peoplemainly from the three local universities and the local leaders and the business leaderscame up with this plan. I am very much looking forward to seeing the winners of the Kyoto Youth Scholar Discovery Awards program.
This last question is a follow up to a question asked a year ago in an interview with National Geographic News. You said then that you were "extremely concerned" for the world given the deterioration of spirit and challenges facing humanity but were "optimistic" for the future of the human race. Have the events of the last year increased or decreased your optimism?
My feelings are still not reaching that [level of] pessimism yet. But in the last year, you are quite correct that we have had disastrous and sad events that continue one after another, and lots of the problems and issues seem to attack the human being.
Having said that, however, I still believe that we human beings will continue to rebuild ourselves. So in that sense, I'm still optimistic.
What I think is crucially important is the spiritual aspect of the human being. How do human beings rebuild successfully their spiritual aspect in a substantial sense? That is crucially important.
From the viewpoint of the ethics of human beings, what are the ethical things to do? That is the theme for the worldwide campaign that I think should be started now, not only in the general society but also in the educational institutions or any other organizationa worldwide, multidimensional campaign or discussion as to what are the ethical constructs of human beings in modern times. That should be the theme so that we can reconfirm what are these ethical things, and we should reinforce them.
That kind of campaign should be started in the world, and that is my high expectation.
SOURCES AND RELATED WEB SITES