The Kyoto Prize, which honors those who have made significant contributions to scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment, was awarded on Saturday to three scholars.

  • Yoshinori Ohsumi, a professor at the Frontier Research Center of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, was honored for achievement in the basic sciences. Mr. Ohsumi helped explain autophagy, the molecular mechanism by which a cell degrades its own proteins to cope with nutritional deficiencies or other challenges.
  • Gayatri Spivak, an Indian scholar who founded Columbia University’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, was honored for her theoretical work for the humanities based on comparative literature, and for her devotion to multifaceted educational activities.
  • Ivan Sutherland, a computing expert who is a visiting scientist at Portland State University, was honored for pioneering work in developing graphical methods of interacting with computers.

Each winner will receive a medal and 50 million yen—about $630,000—from the Inamori Foundation, which has awarded the prize annually since 1985. The foundation was established by Kazuo Inamori, founder of the high-tech manufacturing company Kyocera and the KDDI Corporation, a Japanese telecommunications company.