Shigeru Miyamoto is a titan in the video game industry, having created beloved franchises such as “Mario Bros.” and “The Legend of Zelda.”
For his work, Japanese news outlet Nikkei reports, Miyamoto is being awarded the Person of Cultural Merit by the Japanese government on November 3, which is recognized nationally as Culture Day in Japan.
The award is the highest honor a person in a creative field can receive in Japan, and Miyamoto is the first person in the video game industry to receive the honor.
“The video games I’ve been involved in developing could not have been made by a single person, so I’m very humbled to receive this honor as an individual,” Miyamoto told CNN in a statement.
Miyamoto, 66, began his career at Nintendo in 1977. It could be argued that he is largely responsible for much of the company’s success, having created some of the brand’s biggest franchises.
In addition to Mario and Zelda, Miyamoto is responsible for creating Donkey Kong and Star Fox.
Each of these franchises have spawned dozens of titles and spinoffs, with more being developed every year.
“Those who started to develop games together close to 40 years ago are continuing to work together with me even now, while also cooperating with developers worldwide,” Miyamoto said. “I am very grateful for this acknowledgement given to our development teams for their sustained efforts and for recognition of the video game as Japanese culture. We will continue to make our utmost efforts to put smiles on the faces of people around the world.”
Also receiving the award are Nobel laureate Akira Yoshino, director Nobuhiko Obayashi, manga artist Moto Hagio and kabuki actor Bando Tamasaburo, according to the Japan Times.
Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request from CNN for comment.