This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine went to Professor Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and Sir John B. Gurdon of Cambridge University. Professor Yamanaka becomes the nineteenth Japanese Nobel Prize winner, the second in the field of Physiology and Medicine.
His award winning work on iPS cells was first introduced in 2006, and, since then, the high probability of Yamanaka getting the prize has been talked about in Japan. However, everyone thought it would be at least ten to twenty years down the road. The unexpected news of the award was a great surprise throughout Japan.
After prize was awarded, Japanese television and newspapers released the news of this landmark achievement. On the Internet, Japanese spoke out with praise and happiness on Twitter and other forums. Here are some comments taken from major Japanese web forums just after the news came out.
- “It’s good to be Japanese!”
- “I thought he would get the prize someday, but this was much sooner than I thought. That shows how important iPS cells are.”
- “It’s an invention that shows how far mankind has come. Congratulations.”
- “This will cure my baldness.”
- “I wonder if my bio-stock will be up because of this?”
- “Even with great achievements, the Japanese people up to now didn’t get the prize until they were much older. This time was surprisingly fast.”
- “It’s obvious [Yamanaka receiving the prize] – this is a world-changing discovery. It basically boils down to immortality. I wonder if there’s going to be an era of rich people being able to live for hundreds of years.”
- “I bet they’ll have iPS cell factories within 10 years.”
- “I bet they’ll have factories that make customized internal organs for people. Now it’s just a matter of how much it costs.”
- “They already do (lol). They sell to the researchers (lol).”
- ”Since cases of thyroid cancer, etc. may increase, it would be best if regenerative medicine advances quickly.”
- “Hopefully this can be used soon to help people around the world with incurable diseases.”
- “WIll this also fix my impotence? Will this also fix my impotence? （´・ω・｀）”
- “Hopefully this will make it easier to get funding for his research.”
- “This will increase people’s life spans and medical costs overall and increase the burden on young people paying into the national pension system, finally increasing national debt.”
- “Amazing. Professor Yamanaka’s achievement is absolutely amazing. It sounds corny, but he is the pride of Japan.”
Comparing the Japanese reaction of this year’s award to those in the past, it seems that this time there is not just focus on winning the award, but on the research itself. This research field is closely linked to our lives and the type of futuristic technology that appears in movies and comics. This could be the reason it has captured the attention of so many Japanese.