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Recipients of Fall 2014 Decorations

Japan Information & Culture Center


On November 3rd, 2014 (Japan Standard Time), the Government of Japan announced the recipients of its Fall 2014 Decorations. From the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, the following four distinguished persons will be awarded:


Decoration Outline of Merit Main Career Name
Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Star Contributed to education and research

* Emeritus Professor, California Institute of Technology

* Former Professor, Tokyo University

Hiroo Kanamori (Male)   

78 years of age

Pasadena, California,


Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Contributed to the promotion of exchange between Japan and the United States and the revitalization of the Japanese American community in Southern California

* Former President, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California

* Current President, Japanese Community Pioneer Center

Toshio Handa

72 years of age


Pasadena, California,


Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Contributed to exchange between Japan and the United States and promotion of Japanese culture

*Former Councilwomen, City of Los Angeles

*Former Member of the Board of Directors, Go For Broke National Education Center

Jan Perry

59 years of age

Los Angeles, California,


Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays Contributed to promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States

* Former President, Terminal Islanders
*Former Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Beikoku Shodo Kenkyukai

Yukio Tatsumi

94 years of age

Long Beach, California,

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

Prof. Hiroo Kanamori - Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Star

Prof. Kanamori was born in 1936 in Tokyo, Japan and after graduating from the Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo in 1959, obtained his Ph.D. in science for his research in geophysics in 1964 while working as a research associate at the same faculty. Soon after, he traveled to the United States, continuing his research as a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology and later, as visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1970, he became the Director of the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo followed by a position as a professor at the California Institute of Technology two years later. In 1990, he was appointed Director of the Seismological Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, establishing his authority in the fields of seismology and geophysics.  His research is highly regarded in the United States, where he served for a year as Chairman of the Seismological Society of America in 1985.

His research on clarifying the source process of massive earthquakes in order to quantify the physical process of the epicenter based on the seismic record was a breakthrough in the study of seismology. These research results have led to the development of systems to help reduce seismic disaster and also contributed to the spread of earthquake early warning and earthquake alarm systems in Japan. Prof. Kanamori currently serves as Emeritus Professor at the California Institute of Technology, working for disaster prevention and mitigation as well as for the spread of the systems worldwide.

He has received numerous awards for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of seismology including the Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship (1993), the Asahi Prize (1994), the Japan Academy Prize (2004), the Kyoto Prize (2007), and the Person of Cultural Merit Award (2006).



Mr. Toshio Handa - Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Mr. Toshio Handa was born on September 27th, 1942 in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from the School of Commerce, Keio University in 1965, he began his career at ITOCHU Corporation, eventually moving to Pasadena as the Aircraft Department manager for ITOCHU Corporation Los Angeles. Despite returning once to Japan, he came back to the U.S. in 1981 with his family and began his private trading company until his retirement in 2011.

Once his company became successful, Mr. Handa started participating in various Japanese American organizations and actively contributing to the community. Due to the fact that most Japanese American organization events were being held in the Southbay area, he organized the first Pasadena Seminar in 2003, providing those of Japanese descent in the north-eastern region of Los Angeles with a valuable opportunity for lectures on current affairs and a social outlet for over 10 years.

With his Japanese pride and love for Japan, Mr. Handa has spent many years enlightening the community and disseminating Japanese culture in the Greater Los Angeles area.

After serving in many key posts of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, Mr. Handa served as President for 3 years, hosting various events leading to the development of Little Tokyo and the promotion of friendly relations with the general public in the United States. He has also been actively involved with the serious financial issues the organization faces. During his third year as President, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck and Mr. Handa, taking leadership, gathered the Japanese American community and through his efforts, was able to raise a total of $560,000 in donations, which was all donated to the disaster area through the UNICEF. He has also continued his annual visitation of the disaster area, nurturing his relations with local people. Mr. Handa began his term as President of the Japanese Community Pioneer Center in 2014, also after serving other key posts, and has provided many welfare services to the elderly Japanese Americans such as hosting various seminars and providing taxi coupons.
Mr. Handa has helped provide operational support for the Nikkei Helpline which has become the heart and soul of the Japanese people here. The Nikkei Helpline in Los Angeles is the sole provider of support in Japanese in North America. He has donated all profits from the Pasadena Seminar and has hosted events such as benefit concerts in order to raise funds.

Mr. Handa has contributed to a wide variety of organizations, such as the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Orange County Association, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, the Little Tokyo Community Council, the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California, the Beikoku Shodo Kenkyukai, the LA Tokyo-kai, the Taisho Club, the Japan America Society of Southern California, in addition to the ones listed above, making his activities an integral part of the community. As a reflection of his tremendous contribution to the community, Mr. Handa received the Commendation of the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles in 2014.



Ms. Jan Perry - Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Ms. Jan Perry’s strong commitment to serving the community and people of Los Angeles was clearly demonstrated as both a community volunteer and as an elected official. After graduating cum laude with a major in journalism at the University of Southern California, Ms. Perry went on to earn a Master's in Public Administration at USC in 1981. She worked as a paralegal for 10 years and subsequently became involved in Los Angeles city government, engaging in legislative work for three City Council members before being elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001.

She represented the Ninth Council District that included downtown Los Angeles, and south Los Angeles. Her district also included Little Tokyo where she served the Japanese-American community and helped strengthen its voice in city government. Her thorough understanding of the community, its history, heritage and concerns enabled her to strongly advocate for services benefiting constituents. She also fought to help preserve and promote Japanese culture and Japanese American history in Los Angeles.

As City Councilwoman, Ms. Perry worked tirelessly to bring several catalytic redevelopment and revitalization projects to downtown and Little Tokyo. She worked in close collaboration with organizations in Little Tokyo to establish and prioritize redevelopment for the community. She brought the Regional Connector project to Little Tokyo, and supported development plans for Budokan, a proposed multiuse facility for sports and community activities. Under her strong leadership, public safety, infrastructure and the landscape in Little Tokyo were significantly improved. Ms. Perry actively supported the annual Nisei Week Festival, enhancing its role as a bridge between Japanese American pioneers and the younger generations. She served as the Grand Marshal of the Nisei Week Parade in 2013, a reflection of her contribution to its continuing success.

As a board member of the ‘Go for Broke’ National Education Center, Ms. Perry was a strong advocate for Japanese American veterans, supporting the construction and maintenance of the ‘Go for Broke’ Monument. She was also instrumental in gaining the full support of the City of Los Angeles for the development of the Japanese American National Museum.

After the Great East Japan earthquake, Ms. Perry cited inspiration from resilience shown by the people of Japan and their willingness to help each other. She organized a fund raising event with both city and American Red Cross volunteers for the victims, calling on the entire city to show support for Japan.
Ms. Perry actively promoted the sister city exchange between Los Angeles and the Japanese City of Nagoya. She warmly welcomed delegations from Nagoya and participated in a mission in 2009 to exchange ideas and promote a dialogue on economic and urban development policies between the two cities.



Mr. Yukio Tatsumi - Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Mr. Yukio Tatsumi was born in August 1920 in Terminal Island, California, a small enclave in Southern California populated by immigrant Japanese fishermen. .He attended up to junior high school in Terminal Island and then moved to Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, for high school, soon moving back to Terminal Island and graduating from San Pedro High School in 1940.

Along with others of Japanese ancestry, Mr. Tatsumi was interned at the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II. After the War he settled his family in Los Angeles and began his profession as a commercial fisherman.In 1956, he started the Oriental Food Market, a grocery store specializing in Japanese and oriental goods for the local community in Long Beach and operated it with his wife until 1982. Subsequently, he went to work for a Japanese company, the California Rice Company, as a sales advisor, until his retirement.

In 1971, Mr. Tatsumi along with friends, created the Terminal Islanders Organization in order to memorialize the Japanese fishing village that was their home and preserve its history and legacy for future generations. He was elected Vice President and later served as President from 1984 to 2011. The organization sought to preserve the history and spirit of the community of Terminal Island and educate society about the history and role of Japanese in Southern California. In 2002, the Terminal Islanders created the Terminal Island Memorial Monument and in 2004, the achievements of the Terminal Islanders was recognized with a Commendation from the Foreign Ministry of Japan

Mr. Tatsumi is also a skilled and well-established Shodo calligraphist and has promoted the art of Japanese Shodo calligraphy in the United States through his active participation in the Beikoku Shodo Kenkyukai.  In addition, he has served with the Nanka Wakayama Kenjiinkai and has been active in numerous Japanese American organizations. In 2013, Mr. Tatsumi received the Commendation of the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles for his work in promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan.




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