Spring 2020 Decoration Conferred on Ms. Nancy Kyoko Oda

On April 29, 2020, the Government of Japan announced the recipients of its Spring 2020 Decorations and within this Consulate General's jurisdiction, Ms. Nancy Kyoko Oda received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays.

For over 40 years since 1978, Ms. Nancy Kyoko Oda has been an active member of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, and was appointed as President from 2011-2013, recognized for her experienced leadership as a former elementary school principal for 17 years.  She has continued to serve as an officer of the Center after her term ended, and has supported the continued development of the Center currently serving 1000 families, and has contributed greatly to the progress of the Japan-U.S. relationship.
The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred the year that Ms. Oda became President of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center. Ms. Oda mobilized the Center and its organizations and youth groups in a major disaster relief fundraising effort that raised $110,000 over one year. In 2016 Ms. Oda helped organize a fifth anniversary fundraising event to benefit orphans in Japan.
As a child of the camps, Ms. Oda, a third generation Japanese American, has exhibited a strong commitment to keeping alive the stories of the Japanese American interment. During her college years at the University of California, Los Angeles, she translated “Tule Lake Stockade Diary” written by her father, Tatsuo Inouye, during World War II. In 2018, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center published her translation online as part of the Suyama Project.
In June 2013, due to persistent actions by a group of advocates led by Ms. Oda and other community leaders, the City of Los Angeles designated the former Tuna Canyon Detention Station a Historic Cultural Monument. Ms. Oda and the coalition had relentlessly sought recognition of the site where 2,000 Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and Japanese taken from Peru were detained for several years during World War II. In 2014, due to her stature in the community as a Tule Lake survivor and longtime leader at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, Ms. Oda was designated the first president of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, a new non-profit formed to preserve the history of Tuna Canyon.       
Under Ms. Oda’s leadership, the Coalition developed a traveling exhibition, which received funding through the U.S. National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant, entitled “Only the Oaks Remain.” The exhibit tells the story of the detainees of Tuna Canyon, through photos, diaries, letters, and interviews, and has been shown at 12 locations throughout the U.S. west coast. Due to Ms. Oda’s strong leadership and the publicity and advocacy efforts of the Coalition, in 2018 the City of Los Angeles installed street signs at the site of the former Detention Station, providing visible homage to a chapter of Los Angeles history that prior to the Coalition’s formation was largely unknown.    
Motivated by a desire to teach the younger generations the history of Japanese American internment, Ms. Oda has been a speaker at the University of California Los Angeles, California State Universities Northridge and Long Beach, in addition to local high schools.

The conferment ceremony for Ms. Oda was held on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony was held at the Consul General’s Official Residence with a very small number of guests.