Dr Inamori receives honorary knighthood

Paul Madden, the British Ambassador to Japan and Kazuo Inamori

Dr Inamori receives honorary knighthood

Dr Kazuo Inamori, founder of the Inamori Foundation, received the title of Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) at an investiture ceremony held at the British Embassy in Tokyo on 28 November 2019.

Paul Madden, the British Ambassador to Japan, presented Dr Inamori with the honour in recognition of his distinguished services to relations between the UK and Japan in a variety of fields.

Dr Inamori is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Kyocera Corporation, Honorary Adviser of KDDI Corporation and of Japan Airlines, and Founder of Inamori Foundation. He established Kyocera when he was 27 and began devoting himself to the development and marketing of advanced ceramic materials. After the deregulation of Japan’s telecommunications market, he established DDI Corporation (now KDDI) with the goal of lowering long-distance calling fees. In 2010, at the age of 78, he accepted a volunteer assignment as chairman of Japan Airlines, leading the flag carrier out of bankruptcy, returning it to solid profitability, and relisting it on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

As a philanthropist, he established the non-profit Inamori Foundation and the Kyoto Prize in 1984 to celebrate researchers and artists who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement and development of humankind, reflecting his lifelong belief that “human beings have no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of humanity and the world.”

The British Ambassador Paul Madden saluted Inamori for his personal leadership and commitment, and was delighted to congratulate him on the award of an Honorary Knighthood.

“This is really more of an honour than I deserve. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude,” said Dr Inamori. “I feel that the conferment of this honour represents the greatest praise for the activities that Kyocera, KDDI, Japan Airlines, and the Inamori Foundation have fostered together with the British people in their respective histories,” Inamori continued. “I want to share this honour with everyone in each company. I will continue to make efforts so that the friendly relationship between Japan and the UK may further develop in favourable ways forever.”

Kyocera and KDDI, have created thousands of jobs across the UK, including data centres in the London Docklands which carry more than half the public internet traffic in Europe. At Japan Airlines, Dr. Inamori played a critical role in negotiating the contract to purchase Airbus aircraft. The Kyoto Prize has recognised 12 eminent British individuals since 1984, and the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government has hosted the Laureates every May since 2017 for the Kyoto Prize at Oxford.


Photo: Paul Madden, the British Ambassador to Japan and Kazuo Inamori / British Embassy Tokyo