Nintendo designer and producer Shigeru Miyamoto has been recognized as a Person of Cultural Merit by Japan. This award is reserved for Japanese citizens who've made enormous cultural contributions or advancements through their work, creations, or discoveries. It's hard to overstate the significance of receiving it.
Beyond Nintendo's most amicable face, Miyamoto is known as the creator of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Star Fox, to say nothing of his role in countless other Nintendo games. It's no exaggeration to say his ideas have brought happiness to untold millions, and many are still flourishing as Nintendo's tentpole franchises.
According to Japanese tweets translated by - ehem - Cheesemeister (opens in new tab), Miyamoto said, "I'm thankful that light is being shined upon the genre of games," later adding that "this is a job where you can't do anything by yourself." As Crunchyroll (opens in new tab) reports, he also said that he "wants to make people around the world smile" and "won't be retiring anytime soon."
As former Sonic Team lead Yuji Naka pointed out in another tweet (opens in new tab), Miyamoto is the first video game developer to receive the award. "I'm really glad that people from the game industry are chosen now," Naka said.
The Person of Cultural Merit award has been around for over 60 years. Recipients include famed artists, performers, athletes, academics, scientists, engineers, medical researchers, and individuals from many other professions. You may recognize one of the more recent recipients: animator and director Hayao Miyazaki, who was recognized in 2012. As it happens, Miyamoto won't be the only person to receive the award this year: he will be joined by shoujo manga artist Moto Hagio.
Miyamoto's ideas went on to inspire many of the best Switch games (opens in new tab) you can play today.