The Kyoto Prize is an international award presented by the Inamori Foundation to those making major contributions to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind. The Prize is presented for Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy.
Professor Akasaki won the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology for his contribution to the development of advanced gallium nitride positive-negative junctions. Over a period of 20 years of hard work and ongoing research, Professor Akasaki succeeded in creating the world's first high-performance blue-light emitting device in 1989 during his tenure as Professor of the School of Engineering at Nagoya University. Such an achievement was generally believed to be impossible during the 20th century.