The award honors “individuals who have made distinguished accomplishment in artistic and cultural activities.” The announcement stated “Over many years, as [Yoshiyuki] released a multitude of great works as an animation director, he has endeavored for the growth of the next generation and made a great contribution to the promotion of Japan’s arts and culture.”
The award was also given to manga creator Rumiko Takahashi (Inuyasha, Ranma ½), and Hidenori Murata; the founder of studio Eiken. In total, 74 people will receive the award for the “Reiwa 1” yearly period (which began May 1st, 2019). The ceremony shall be held at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Auditorium 2 on December 6th.
While the award is not usually given to anime and manga based creators, Studio Pierrot founder Yūji Nunokawa, and manga creator Kazuo Umezu received the award in March 2019.
Yoshiyuki is the creator and director of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime from 1979. Since then he has directed numerous Gundam anime; including Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, Aura Battler Dunbine, and Gundam: Reconguista in G.