In a rare gesture, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday presented Padma Shri to eminent Japanese Tamil language scholar Noboru Karashima for his outstanding contribution in the field of literature and education.

The 80-year-old Mr. Karashima could not be present for the Padma awards ceremony in New Delhi on April 5, 2013 due to health reasons. The awards were given by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Mr. Karashima, presently Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, had spent several years in India as a research scholar on South Indian history and epigraphy at the University of Madras.

Besides amazing people with the ease with which he speaks Tamil, Mr. Karashima is also an acknowledged authority on medieval South Indian inscriptions.

The citation read that Mr. Karashima joined the University of Tokyo faculty in 1964 and occupied the prestigious Chair of South Asian History at the university in 1974, which he held for 20 years.

The scholar received a standing ovation as he received the award from the Prime Minister.