Mathematical Society of Japan

Founded in 1877

The Mathematical Society of Japan was founded in 1877 as the Tokyo Mathematics Society (Tokyo Sugaku Kaisha). This was the first academic society to be founded in Japan [3]:-
The founders of 'Tokyo Mathematics Society' recognized the importance of mathematics as the basis of all sciences, and devoted themselves to introducing European mathematics to Japan.
In 1884, seven years after the Society was founded, it broadened itself by becoming the 'Tokyo Mathematical and Physical Society', still at this stage not considering itself as a national society. However, in 1918 it did recognise its status as a national society and again changed its name to become the 'Physico-Mathematical Society of Japan'.

The present form of the 'Mathematical Society of Japan' came into existence in 1946 when the 'Physico-Mathematical Society of Japan' split into two separate societies, one whose primary interest was mathematics, namely 'The Mathematical Society of Japan' and one whose primary interest was physics, named 'The Physical Society of Japan'.

The business affairs of the Society are conducted by The Board of Trustees who are elected members of the Committee of the Council. The following is slightly modified from [2]:-
Currently, the Mathematical Society of Japan has around 5000 individual and institutional members and conducts various activities to promote mathematical researches and education, thereby contributing to science and culture in Japan. The society annually organizes several conferences such as the Spring Meetings and Autumn Meetings, the Takagi Lectures and the 'Mathematical Society of Japan - Seasonal Institutes'; publishes journals and books; awards the Mathematical Society of Japan Prizes; and holds public lectures and seminars for general audience. As a group of professionals with mathematical expertise, the Mathematical Society of Japan has been making policy proposals to the government in order to improve national education and research environment in mathematical sciences. The year 2015 was the hundredth anniversary year of the births of Dr Kunihiko Kodaira and Dr Kiyosi Ito, which the Mathematical Society of Japan celebrated by organizing conferences and open lectures.
We now give a little more detail on each of the activities mentioned in the above quote.

Spring Meeting and Autumn Meeting

Each year the Society organises a Spring Meeting, usually in March, and an Autumn Meeting, usually in September. These meetings are attended by a large number of mathematicians, usually around 1500 at each meeting. The Society awards prizes at each meeting, the Spring Prize and the Publication Prize at the Spring Meeting and the Autumn Prize, the Takebe Takahiro Prizes and the Seki Takakazu Prize at the Autumn Meeting. At both meetings, the Mathematical Society of Japan arranges "Lectures for Citizens" intended for a non-professional audience, and various symposiums are organised in which participants exchange ideas and express opinions on the role of mathematics and mathematical education.

The Spring Prize

The Mathematical Society of Japan Spring Prize is one of the most prestigious prizes awarded by the Society to its members. It is awarded to those of age below 40 who have obtained outstanding mathematical results. This prize has been awarded since 1973 but originally it was named the Iyanaga Prize since it was funded though an endowment made by Shokichi Iyanaga. The Iyanaga Prize was awarded until 1987 and from 1988 it has been known as the Spring Prize.

For a list of winners see THIS LINK.

Publication Prize

This prize is awarded to individuals and organizations or groups who have made significant and noteworthy contributions to the research, education and popularization of mathematics through writings and publications. It was established in 2004.

The Autumn Prize

The Mathematical Society of Japan Autumn Prize is one of the most prestigious prizes awarded by the Society to its members. It is awarded without age restriction to people who have made exceptional contributions in their fields of research. The Prize was established in 1987 funded from donations by the family of Yasuo Akizuki and others.

For a list of winners see THIS LINK.

Takebe Katahiro Prizes

There are two Takebe Katahiro Prizes for young mathematicians, namely the Takebe Katahiro Prize, known as the Takebe Prize, and the Takebe Katahiro Prize for Encouragement of Young Researchers, known as the Encouragement Prize. These prizes are named after Katahiro Takebe (1644-1739), a disciple of Seki Takakazu, who was noted for his creation of tables of trigonometric functions. The Takebe Prize is awarded to young researchers who have obtained outstanding results, while the Encouragement Prize is awarded to young mathematicians who are deemed to have begun promising careers in research by obtaining significant results.

Seki Takakazu Prize

This prize is awarded by the Society to the individuals or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the progress of mathematics through non-research activities. Fujioka City, which is associated with Seki Takakazu (1642-1708), awards certificates of merit and bronze statues of Seki to the winners of this prize.

Awards are listed at THIS LINK.

Takagi Lectures

The Takagi Lectures are named for Teiji Takagi (1875-1960), the creator of Class Field Theory and the person considered to be the father of modern mathematical research in Japan. The Takagi Lectures are partially funded from the surplus remaining after the 1990 International Congress of Mathematicians held in Kyoto. The first Takagi Lectures were delivered at the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, in 2006. The lecturers were S Bloch (Chicago), P-L Lions (College de France), S Smale (Chicago) and C Voisin (Institut de mathematiques de Jussieu).

International Research Institute and the Seasonal Institute

The Mathematical Society of Japan International Research Institute was inaugurated in 1993 and one or two were held most years until 2006 when its scope was expanded and it was renamed the Mathematical Society of Japan Seasonal Institute and held annually. A topic for each Institute is chosen and mathematicians are invited from throughout the world. The aim is that Asian mathematicians and promising young Asian students are given the opportunity to interact with world-leading exerts in their field.

For a list of topics covered at each Institute, see THIS LINK.

Other prizes given by the association are: The Mathematical Society of Japan publishes a number of journals and book series. We give below an indication of these publications.

Japanese Journal of Mathematics

This journal, founded by the Mathematical Society of Japan in 1924, produces two issues per year. The journal is now in its third series which began in 2006. The journal publishes research survey articles of high standard.


Sugaku is effectively the newsletter of the Mathematical Society of Japan . It is a Japanese journal which began publication in April 1947 and is distributed free of charge to all members of the Society. This journal is issued four times each year. The articles in the journal are usually written by the members of Mathematical Society of Japan. The journal contains survey articles, book surveys, mathematical letters, news about activities the Society and, more generally, information about all mathematical activities in Japan. The American Mathematical Society translates most of the survey articles in Sugaku into English and publishes them in Sugaku Expositions.

Journal of the Mathematical Society of Japan

This journal was founded in 1948 and publishes research articles across a wide range of mathematical topics. The journal produces four parts each year. In 2010 the Society instituted an Outstanding Paper Prize which is awarded annually to authors of the most outstanding papers published in this Journal.

Sugaku Tushin

Sugaku Tushin is a Japanese magazine intended for exchanging information among the members of the Mathematical Society of Japan. It began publication in 1996. It contains advertisements for open positions in mathematics, details of available research funds, announcements of lecture courses and conferences, book reviews, and news and announcements from a range of different sources such as the Society, branches of the Society in different cities, or from departments of mathematics of Japanese universities. Sugaku Tushin also contains details and programmes of the Spring Meeting and the Autumn Meeting.

Advanced Studies in Pure Mathematics

This is a book series published by the Mathematical Society of Japan, the first volumes appearing in 1983. On average, two volumes appear each year and most are proceedings of conferences such as the International Research Institute and its renamed successor the Mathematical Society of Japan Seasonal Institute. It is particularly strong on publishing high quality survey articles bases on the plenary speakers' lectures at the conferences.

Mathematical Society of Japan Memoirs

The Mathematical Society of Japan has two series of memoirs. One is a series intended for an international mathematical readership while the other is in Japanese and is intended for mathematicians based in Japan. Both series are essentially textbooks on advanced topics, usually based on lecture notes of a course given by the author. Both these series are aimed at graduate students or young researchers.

Research Sections

The Mathematical Society of Japan has the following Research Sections:
1. Foundation of Mathematics and History of Mathematics.

2. Algebra.

3. Geometry.

4. Complex Analysis.

5. Functional Equations.

6. Real Analysis.

7. Functional Analysis.

8. Statistics and Probability Section.

9. Applied Mathematics.

10. Topology.
The future relevance of the Mathematical Society of Japan

The following is taken from [1]:-
Mathematics in the advanced information age

Our life is now drastically changing in the midst of the "fourth industrial revolution" realized by high-performance computers and the internet, which speedily process and distribute data, vast in quantity and complex in quality. We anticipate that mathematics is going to play a far more important and crucial role in this complex digital society than in the traditional analogue society, where mathematics has always contributed by providing the common language of science and technology. A wide range of pure and applied mathematics will be applied to various stages in our life to analyze phenomena, control data, and assess information. Accordingly the Mathematical Society of Japan will try to maintain full diversity of mathematical researches at academic institutions to cope with diversified demands. On the other hand, the bigger role of mathematics in society entails a higher degree of responsibility and accountability of mathematicians. The Mathematical Society of Japan will not only promote academic research in mathematics/mathematical science but also be engaged in the dissemination of mathematical literacy to help citizens precisely understand science and technology, properly process information and correctly assess risks in their life.

Visit the society website.

References (show)

  1. M Kotani, Mathematics in the advanced information age, The Mathematical Society of Japan.
  2. The Mathematical Society of Japan website.
  3. The Mathematical Society of Japan - history

Last Updated February 2018