Government Wants to Buy Nobel Prize Winner a Washing Machine

Professor Yamanaka Shinya Will Receive A Washing Machine for Nobel Prize

What do you give a man who already has a Nobel Prize? The answer is apparently a washing machine. When the Japanese Cabinet discussed what they ought to send as a congratulatory gift from the government to Professor Yamanaka Shinya, who shared the 2012 Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology with Professor John Gurdon for work on the therapeutic benefits of stem cells, they decided that a simple electronic appliance would be appropriate.

According to Education Minister Tanaka Makiko, Professor Yamanaka’s own washing machine was in the middle of being repaired when he received the call to inform him of his success, and therefore a new washing machine would be a practical gift to the Japanese scientist.

When netizens caught wind of the plan, they were unimpressed. This short article on Yahoo Japan attracted almost eight-thousand Facebook ‘likes’, thousands of comments, and thousands of retweets. Many commenters were bemused that despite the years of research that Yamanaka had dedicated himself to, the government thought that his Nobel Prize-winning efforts only warranted a washing machine.

From Yahoo! (no longer available, a copy on Japanese WSJ site)

Education Minister Tanaka Suggests: ‘Let’s Give Professor Yamanaka the Gift of a Washing Machine’

 ”>At a press conference following the cabinet meeting on October 16, Education Minister Makiko Tanaka revealed that the cabinet has proposed sending this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, Kyoto University Professor Shinya Yamanaka, with a washing machine.

The professor’s own washing machine had broken down on October 8, and he was in the middle of getting it repaired when he received the news that he had been awarded the prize. The Minister said the cabinet discussed the matter after their meeting ended and noted that it was a problem everyone could relate to and suggested they donate a washing machine to him on their behalf. The ministers agreed to the gift after examining whether there were any legal issues with making the donation.

Education Minister Tanaka Makiko

Education Minister Tanaka Makiko: “He’s going to love it.”

Comments from Yahoo!


He can buy as much as a washing machine himself, can’t he? Are they making a fool of him? Instead of that, wash the DPJ, if you wash them, will they disappear?


Honestly, that’s Tanaka for you. (Not funny)


He’s not a pauper, they should just mind their own business!


This joke isn’t funny.
What? You’re serious?
Even less funny.

(・____・) ジィー(kit…)さん:

So that’s how little you have to do.
Open the Diet.


‘Certainly as a citizen he must be troubled’.
Are you making a fool out of a person who repairs things and uses them for a long time?


You use home appliances only for yourself, so there is no bigger bother than having someone else give you one as a present. Flawlessly idiotic cabinet ministers.


And will it be a Haier appliance? It’ll break down again.


When the election comes, we’ll show you the anger of the Japanese people, Democratic Party of Japan! A washing machine…


Rather than that, give him a stable research environment. Don’t beat around the bush with a washing machine.


That’s disrespectful to Prof. Yamanaka!


Instead of sending him a washing machine, make a system where researchers who have part-time work can work full-time!


As a present from the people to the Democratic Party ministers, we’ll give you the gift of losing the election.


The Prime Minister’s slogan was ‘Wash Japan’. Isn’t it better that he himself bought a good washing machine?




Well, it’s fine, but it’s cheap.


You just don’t do that…


Single-cell organisms.

What do you think? Bad gift idea? Or are Japanese netizens being too hard on the Cabinet for genuinely trying to be nice with a practical gift?

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