Awards

Medal with a Yellow Ribbon and Contemporary Master Craftsmen

The Medal with a Yellow Ribbon

The Japanese government confers medals of honor on individuals who are recognized for having made significant contributions to society or culture. The six types of medals are distinguished by the color of the ribbon (red, green, yellow, purple, blue, and dark blue). Each color signifies contributions in a different field. The Medal with a Yellow Ribbon is awarded to individuals who, through their diligence and perseverance while engaging in their professional activities, became public role models.

2018 Award Recipient
Katsumi Nakata
Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Repair)

Katsumi Nakata

Nakata, who has sought to attain mastery in the field of luxury watch assembly, contributed to the establishment of assembly technology and to the development of those following in his footsteps. He is currently working as a Certified Assembly Technician and is recognized for his skill, particularly in the assembly of Spring Drive Minute Repeater wristwatches*.

Career Highlights

1982Joined Suwa Seikosha (now Seiko Epson)
1984Captured the gold medal in watch repair at the 22nd National Skills Competition
2008Awarded the title "Shinshu Master Craftsman" by the Nagano Prefectural Governor
2010Designated a Contemporary Master Craftsman by the Japanese government
2018Awarded the Medal with a Yellow Ribbon by the Japanese government

* A minute repeater is a mechanism that mechanically sounds the hours and minutes.

Yoshifusa Nakazawa

Nakazawa, who has sought to attain mastery in the field of luxury watch assembly, contributed to the establishment of assembly technology and to the development of those following in his footsteps. He captured a gold medal in the watch repair at the 1981 WorldSkills Competition held in America. For many years he was a full-time assembler of the world’s thinnest movements*1 for quartz watches. He is currently earning recognition particularly for his skill in assembling Spring Drive sonnerie wristwatches*2.

Career Highlights

1978Joined Suwa Seikosha (now Seiko Epson)
1981Captured the gold medal in watch repair at the 26th WorldSkills Competition
2006Awarded the title "Shinshu Master Craftsman" by the Nagano Prefectural Governor
2008Designated a Contemporary Master Craftsman by the Japanese government
2009Monozukuri Nippon Grand Award Prime Minister Award
2015Awarded the Medal with a Yellow Ribbon by the Japanese government

*1 Thinnest movements at that time, in 1989
*2 A sonnerie is a mechanism that chimes on the hour every hour.

2015 Award Recipient
Yoshifusa Nakazawa
Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Repair)

2011 Award Recipient
Koichi Shibata
Certified Mold Assembly and Finishing Technician
Certified Injection Molding Technician

Koichi Shibata

For many years Shibata has contributed to the safe operation of the world's largest synthetic crystal growth furnaces by devoting himself to the precision hand-finishing of sealing surfaces on these high-temperature, high-pressure autoclaves. He has also significantly contributed to the professional development of those following in his footsteps by providing instruction to young employees in the global Epson Group and by lecturing and coaching students at local industrial high schools.

Career Highlights

2000Joined Seiko Epson
2006Awarded the title of Master Craftsman by Aomori prefecture
2008Certified as an Aomori Meister (Manufacturing Process Management)
2010Designated a Contemporary Master Craftsman by the Japanese government
2011Awarded the Medal with a Yellow Ribbon by the Japanese government

Kazuo Takeoka

Takeoka captured a gold medal in watch repair at the 1977 WorldSkills Competition held in the Netherlands. While applying his knowledge and skills to contribute to the development of the watch business, he has dedicated himself to the development of the younger generation. He played a central role in launching the Shinshu Watch Repair Master Craftsman certification system in Nagano prefecture. He currently is active in the Japan Clock & Watch Association in efforts to promote skills in the domestic industry.

Career Highlights

1975Joined Shimauchi Seiki (now Seiko Epson)
1977Joined Shimauchi Seiki (now Seiko Epson)
2006Designated a Contemporary Master Craftsman by the Japanese government
2010Awarded the Medal with a Yellow Ribbon by the Japanese government

2006 Award Recipient
Kazuo Takeoka
Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)

2005 Award Recipient
Kenji Shiohara
Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)

Kenji Shiohara

Shiohara captured a gold medal in watch repair at the 1979 WorldSkills Competition held in Ireland. Later, he actively instructed and developed certified skilled workers by serving as a member of the Nagano Prefecture Watch Skills Certification Committee. In 2000, he set up the Micro Artist Studio, where he contributes to the development of preeminent products and the passing on of traditional skills.

Career Highlights

1976Joined Shimauchi Seiki (now Seiko Epson)
1979Captured the gold medal in watch repair at the 25th WorldSkills Competition
2003Designated a Contemporary Master Craftsman by the Japanese government
2005Awarded the Medal with a Yellow Ribbon by the Japanese government

Other recipients

Year Awarded NAME Trade Certification
1956 Takashi Watch technician
2016 Takashi Iimori Certified Mold Assembly and Finishing Technician, and Certified Injection Molding Technician

Contemporary Master Craftsmen

Once a year, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare selects individuals who have earned the designation of Contemporary Master Craftsman under an award system that was established in 1967 to foster respect for the skilled trades and to improve the social status and skills of tradesmen.
Individuals who demonstrate outstanding technical skill in certain industrial categories such as metalworking and machinery and equipment assembly and repair are eligible.

Name Year Awarded Trade Certification
Kiyoko Nakayama 1971 Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)
Tokuichi Inagaki 1973 Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)
Isao Tanaka 1984 Certified Lathe Technician
Kenichi Koike 1987 Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)
Sachio Kamano 1988 Certified Machine Finishing Technician
Senji Hosoya 1991 Other Machine and Appliance Assembly Technician
Tsuneo Iezuka 1998 Certified Machine Inspection Technician
Masashi Kamata 2001 Other Machine and Appliance Assembly Technician
Kenji Shiohara 2003 Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)
Takeshi Kitazawa 2005 Certified Numerically Controlled Metal Cutting Machine Tool Technician
Kazuo Takeoka 2006 Certified Mechanical Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)
Mitsuo Hara 2006 Certified Machinery and Equipment Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)
Sadaaki Sakai 2007 Other Machine and Appliance Assembly Technician
Yoshifusa Nakazawa 2008 Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)
Takashi Iimori 2008 Certified Mold Finishing Technician
Katsumi Nakata 2010 Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)
Kenji Sakurai 2010 Industrial Machinery Assembly Technician
Koichi Shibata 2010 Certified Metal Hand-Finishing Technician
Ikukiyo Komatsu 2014 Certified Watch Technician (Assembly and Adjustment)