2018Basic SciencesMathematical Sciences (including Pure Mathematics)
Masaki Kashiwara photo

Masaki Kashiwara

  • Japan / January 30, 1947
  • Mathematician
  • Project Professor, Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Kyoto University

Outstanding Contributions to a Broad Spectrum of Modern Mathematics: Advancement of D-module Theory from Its Foundation

Dr. Kashiwara established the theory of D-modules, thereby playing a decisive role in the creation and development of algebraic analysis. His numerous achievements—including the establishment of the Riemann-Hilbert correspondence, its application to representation theory, and construction of crystal basis theory—have exerted great influence on various fields of mathematics and contributed strongly to their development.


Brief Biography

Born in Yuki, Ibaraki, Japan
M.Sci., Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo
Assistant, Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (RIMS), Kyoto University
Associate Professor, Nagoya University
Ph.D., Kyoto University
Associate Professor, RIMS, Kyoto University
Professor, RIMS, Kyoto University (2001–2003 and 2007–2009, Director)
Emeritus Professor, Kyoto University
Project Professor, RIMS, Kyoto University

Selected Awards and Honors

Iyanaga Prize
Asahi Prize
Japan Academy Prize
Fujihara Award
Académie des Sciences, The Japan Academy


Outstanding Contributions to a Broad Spectrum of Modern Mathematics: Advancement of D-module Theory from Its Foundation

Dr. Masaki Kashiwara has numerous outstanding achievements including the theory of D-modules, which forms the core of algebraic analysis. Developing this theory from its foundation, he applied it across various fields of modern mathematics.
Algebraic analysis is the study of objects in analysis such as differential equations by using the methods of modern algebra. In his earlier studies, Dr. Kashiwara, jointly with Dr. Mikio Sato and Dr. Takahiro Kawai, completed the classification theory of systems of linear partial differential equations (1). In algebraic analysis, systems of linear differential equations are studied as modules over a ring D of differential operators, that is, as D-modules. Establishing the basic theory of D-modules all alone, Dr. Kashiwara laid the foundation for its subsequent development by proving many important theorems such as finite dimensionality of solutions of holonomic systems (2).
One of his most remarkable achievements is the construction of the Riemann-Hilbert correspondence. To each linear differential equation is associated the concept of monodromy group, a topological datum which measures the multi-valuedness of its solutions. The Riemann-Hilbert problem asks the converse, namely whether there exists a linear differential equation which has a given monodromy group. It had been solved affirmatively in dimension one. The case of higher dimensions had been a longstanding issue, to which Dr. Kashiwara provided an ideal answer in the form of a one-to-one correspondence between regular holonomic D-modules and constructible sheaves (3, 4). This is a beautiful synthesis of geometry, algebra and analysis, and its influence extends beyond the respective fields. Dr. Kashiwara and his collaborator were one of the two research groups who solved the Kazhdan-Lusztig conjecture as an important application of the Riemann-Hilbert correspondence to representation theory (5). Furthermore, the collaborative research on the extension to infinite dimensional Lie algebras (6, 7) became a key step in completing the Lusztig program on representations of algebraic groups in positive characteristic.
Theory of crystal bases of quantum groups is another important achievement of Dr. Kashiwara in representation theory. Quantum groups are a deformation of Lie algebras by a parameter q. Dr. Kashiwara found that a significant simplification occurs in the limit where q becomes 0 and introduced crystal bases at q = 0 (8). Encoding essential information about representations of quantum groups, crystal bases have become a powerful tool in representation theory, combinatorics, and integrable systems. Dr. Kashiwara further showed that crystal bases uniquely extend to global crystal bases defined for an arbitrary value of q (9), which turned out to coincide with the canonical bases introduced by Dr. Lusztig from a completely different point of view.
Dr. Kashiwara has made a wide range of contributions, often collaborating with many coauthors. Some of his outstanding achievements include developing micro local analysis of sheaves (10, 11) and constructing micro localization of symplectic manifolds (12). Even today, he continues to contribute to his field with important results such as the extension of the Riemann-Hilbert correspondence to irregular singularities (13) and categorification of representations of quantum groups (14).
The theory of D-modules has spread to other fields such as number theory, shaping one of the trends in modern mathematics. Dr. Kashiwara’s truly original work sustained over almost half a century is expected to remain influential to the development of mathematical sciences.

(1) Sato M et al. (1973) Microfunctions and pseudo-differential equations. In Lecture Notes in Math. 287 (Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York): 265–529.
(2) Kashiwara M (1975) On the maximally overdetermined system of linear differential equations, I. Publ RIMS, Kyoto Univ 10: 563–579.
(3) Kashiwara M (1980) Faisceaux constructibles et systèmes holonomes d’équations aux dérivées partielles linéaires à points singuliers réguliers. In Séminaire Goulaouic-Schwartz, 1979–80, Exposé 19 (École Polytechnique, Palaiseau).
(4) Kashiwara M (1984) The Riemann-Hilbert problem for holonomic systems. Publ RIMS, Kyoto Univ 20: 319–365.
(5) Brylinski J-L & Kashiwara M (1981) Kazhdan-Lusztig conjecture and holonomic systems. Invent Math 64: 387–410.
(6) Kashiwara M & Tanisaki T (1995) Kazhdan-Lusztig conjecture for affine Lie algebras with negative level. Duke Math J 77: 21–62.
(7) Kashiwara M & Tanisaki T (1996) Kazhdan-Lusztig conjecture for affine Lie algebras with negative level Ⅱ: Nonintegral case. Duke Math J 84: 771–813.
(8) Kashiwara M (1990) Crystalizing the q-analogue of universal enveloping algebras. Comm Math Phys, 133: 249–260.
(9) Kashiwara M (1991) On crystal bases of the q-analogue of universal enveloping algebras. Duke Math J 63: 465–516.
(10) Kashiwara M & Schapira P (1985) Microlocal study of sheaves. Astérisque 128.
(11) Kashiwara M (1985) Index theorem for constructible sheaves. Astérisque 130: 193–209.
(12) Kashiwara M & Rouquier R (2008) Microlocalization of rational Cherednik algebras. Duke Math J 144: 525–573.
(13) D’Agnolo A & Kashiwara M (2016) Riemann-Hilbert correspondence for holonomic D-modules, Publ Math-Paris 123: 69–197.
(14) Kang S-J & Kashiwara M (2012) Categorification of highest weight modules via Khovanov-Lauda-Rouquier algebras. Invent Math 190: 699–742.


Abstract of the Lecture