The Praemium Imperiale is awarded in the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theatre/film, and David Chipperfield will recieve the accolade alongside British sculptor Antony Gormley, producer and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola, Italian painter Michelangelo Pistoletto and Spanish tenor and conductor Plácido Domingo.
Chipperfield's best-known projects include the Stirling Prize-winning Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach am Neckar, America's Cup Building in Valencia and the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin. His latest works in the UK include two art galleries - The Hepworth Wakefield and Turner Contemporary - and he is currently working on a photography museum in Morocco and a museum of fine arts in Reims, France.
Each of the five Praemium Imperiale laureates receives £100,000, a diploma and a medal, which will be presented by the Japan Art Association at a ceremony taking place in Japan this October.
The late Danish architect Henning Larsen was last year's architecture laureate, while past winners include Richard Rogers, Tadao Ando, Alvaro Siza and Zaha Hadid.
Photograph by Bruno Cordioli.