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Recipients of Spring 2013 Decorations

Japan Information & Culture Center


On April 29, 2013 (Japan Standard Time), the Government of Japan announced the recipients of its Spring 2013 Decorations. From the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, the following two people will be awarded.

The Conferment Ceremony for Mr. Thomas Iino will be held in Los Angeles later. For details, please see section 2, below. Mrs. Kaneko Bishop will attend the conferment ceremony to be held in Tokyo on May 15, 2013.

Decoration Outline of Merit Main Career Name

Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon

Contributed to the strengthening of the economic relationship and the promotion of cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.

* Current Chairman, US-Japan Council
* Current Chairman, Pacific Commerce Bank
* Current Board of Governors, Japanese American National Museum
* Former Chairman, Japanese American Cultural Community Center

Thomas Iino (Male)

70 years of age

Pacific Palisades, California

Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Contributed to the promotion of the regional relationship between Japan and the United States

* President of San Diego - Yokohama Sister City Society
* Former Vice President of the Japanese Friendship Garden “Sankeien”


83 years of age

San Diego,

1. The recipients' meritorious service towards Japan is as follows:

Mr. Thomas Iino - Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon

Mr. Thomas Iino graduated with a B.S. in Accounting from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1965 and began his career as an accountant at his Father Sho Iino’s accounting firm. After the retirement of his father he was promoted to the president of the firm and in 1983, after having further expanded the business, it was acquired and merged into Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Mr. Iino was appointed to head the Southern California International Practice, and contributed to the entry of numerous major Japanese companies into the U.S. market and the success of many Japanese American businesses. 

In addition, he has served as president of both the California State Board of Accountancy and National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, and currently serves as a member of the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Trade Advisory Council. Through various government-related positions, he has been active as a bridge between Japanese and Japanese American businesses and California state, county, and city government.

Mr. Iino has also for many years promoted greatly to the development of the Japanese American community. He has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, and is currently on the Board of Directors of Keiro Senior Healthcare and on the Board of Governors of the Japanese American National Museum. Pacific Commerce Bank, where he is currently Chairman of the Board, is the only bank owned substantially by Japanese Americans in the mainland U.S., and provides loans to Japanese American small and medium sized businesses.

Furthermore, he has been a driving force in the U.S.-Japan Council since its founding and currently serving as the Chair of the Board.  He has contributed greatly to developing the Japanese American community and people to people relationships with Japan through focused programs such as the Japanese American Leadership Delegation and programs addressing commercial, diplomatic and educational exchanges between the two countries. Additionally through the leadership of Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, Ambassador John Roos and Mr. Iino himself, in 2012 the U.S.-Japan Council established the Tomodachi Partnership, which aims to support Japan’s recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake, strengthen long term Japan-U.S. cultural and economic ties and deepen the bilateral friendship. Tomodachi focuses on investing in future generations and coordinates a variety of exchange programs between Japan and the United States.

Mrs. Kaneko Bishop - Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Mrs. Kaneko Bishop was born in 1930 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. Since childhood, she practiced Japanese tea ceremony and Ikebana (flower arrangement). After studying English at an English language school, she served as manager of inventory operations for the U.S. Air Base Exchange system in Japan. She married her current husband, an American, and moved to the United States, eventually settling in San Diego.

For the last several decades, she has been active in San Diego civic affairs, serving as San Diego City Commissioner of Human Relations, Vice Chairman of the San Diego International Affairs Board, and Member of the Board of Trustees for the Mingei International Museum.

She also helped promote and organize many projects and programs to promote greater understanding of Japan and Japanese culture, including the Japanese Friendship Garden, where, as one of the founders, she raised the funds to build the first Garden project. Since 1984, as vice president of the Garden, she organized and presented over 20 special exhibits including a calligraphy exhibit by world famous Japanese calligraphers, and contributed to introducing calligraphy to citizens in San Diego.

With the support of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and the Japanese Foreign Ministry, she organized a full day cultural education seminar “Understanding Japan Today” for San Diego Educators, and contributed to introducing Japanese culture to educators in San Diego.

She was also one of the early active supporters of the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society, which was established in 1957 to strengthen and promote the relationship between the two cities. She became president in 2002 and organized many cultural exchange projects, including the exchange of friendship delegations and major gifts, such as the “Girl in Red Shoes” statue in San Diego and the Patience sculpture in Yokohama. In recognition of her efforts the Society was awarded City of Yokohama’s 61st Cultural Award in November 2012. Most recently, as the president of the Society, she organized a fundraising effort for the victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and sent over $10,000 in donation.

Due to the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society’s role in promoting the mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the United States of America, she was awarded the Commendation of the Consul General in November 2012.

As a professor of Japanese tea ceremony, she has introduced and promoted Japanese culture through tea ceremony demonstrations and lectures at universities, museums, the Japanese Friendship Garden, and many civic and social organizations.

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