The seventeenth Golden Spirit Award will be given to Toshiaki Imae for his services to the community.
Imae struck up a relationship with the Gunma Atom, a team for players with disabilities, in 2006 and has invited members of the team to Lotte games over the years. He has been visiting child-care facilities every year since 2008. He has donated 10,000 yen for every RBI he collects during the regular season to non-profit Millefeuille Shoni-Gan (childhood cancer) Frontiers since 2010. And he started visiting elementary and junior high schools in Iwaki, Fukushima as a way to show his support for people that were affected by the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011.
The selection committee had a number of strong candidates, like Toshiya Sugiuchi, Masahiro Araki, Minoru Iwata, and Shuichi Murata, but Imae was ultimately selected for his steadfast dedication and long-term, wide-ranging contributions to various communities.
Katsuhiko Kumazaki (NPB commissioner), Shigeo Nagashima (Yomiuri Giants honorary manager), Kazuo Sayama (writer), Ritsuko Nagao (Japan National Council of Social Welfare, honorary chairperson), Masaaki Hirao (singer, composer), Tadashi Hayakawa (Hochi Shimbun).