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Mathematician Receives Japan's
Order of the Sacred Treasure

Professor accepts country's second-highest academic honor
in private ceremony

Jun-ichi Igusa, professor emeritus in The Johns Hopkins University's Department of Mathematics, received one of his native country's highest honors — The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon — at a private ceremony in his Baltimore County home recently.

Presented by Masaaki Tanino, the consul of the Consulate-General of Japan in New York, the award (called "Zuihoshyo" in Japanese) was bestowed upon Igusa in recognition of his contributions to the development of mathematics and to his role in cultivating scientific exchange between Japan and the United States.

"Professor Igusa was chosen to receive this award because of his work in promoting academic exchanges between Japan and the United States in the field of mathematics," Tanino said. "He also played a role of a coordinator who connected Japanese researchers and students who wanted to study at Johns Hopkins and work with Johns Hopkins in the field of math."

The Order of the Sacred Treasure is Japan's second- highest civilian academic honor, Tanino said. Igusa was one of 10 to receive this award, which is usually presented by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo.

Because Igusa was unable to travel to Japan at the time, he received his award at home. Had the professor been able to make the journey, he would also have had an audience with the emperor at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Tanino said.

Christopher Sogge, chairman of the Department of Mathematics at Johns Hopkins, said the award was richly deserved.

"The Mathematics Department is thrilled that Professor Igusa received this great honor from Japan," Sogge said. "Professor Igusa had a long and distinguished career at Johns Hopkins. He was one of the pioneering researchers in number theory and algebraic geometry for the past 50 years. He also was a leader in theta functions and his 1972 book on that topic remains an important resource for researchers. One of these recent notable accomplishments was the publication, in 2000, of his book 'An Introduction to the Theory of Local Zeta Functions.'"

Born in Japan, Igusa graduated from the University of Tokyo and served as a professor of mathematics at University of Tsukuba before joining Johns Hopkins in 1955. In July 1981, Igusa became director of the Japan-U.S. Mathematics Institute, which is located at Johns Hopkins and has been instrumental in forging interactions and collaborations between members of the Johns Hopkins math department and mathematicians from Japan and throughout the world.

Igusa also was editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Mathematics, which is published by the Johns Hopkins Press.

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