Commendation Ceremony of 2022 Japan Agricultural Achievement Awards

On January 25, Consul General Sone hosted a Commendation Ceremony of the Japan Agricultural Achievement Awards for Mr. Muneaki Tsuzuki and Mr. Kohei Owatari.
Details below:
Commendation Ceremony of the Japan Agricultural Achievement Awards

1. Biography and Reasons for commendation

Mr. Owatari studied the art of Japanese gardens through his work at a landscaping company in Shizuoka Prefecture, training as a gardener apprentice for two years. In 1981, he moved to the United States and established a landscaping company. Based on his belief that inheriting and passing on to others the delicate and beautiful Japanese craftsmanship would spread awareness about the adaptability and sustainability of Japanese gardens, Mr. Owatari has developed a wide range of businesses in the United States. His design reflects an appreciation of Southern California's lifestyle, cultures, architecture, climate, soil and vegetation. Californians have greatly appreciated his unique, artistic yet functional design — a fusion of old and new — focused on stone and water. His work has been featured in many magazines and media, and has won numerous awards.
Mr. Tsuzuki arrived in the United States in 1966. After working at a landscaping company, he established a company specializing in tree pruning in 1982. His company has regularly employed a dozen or so specialists providing high-quality services. He provides services to customers across Southern California, including maintenance of large facilities such as Kaiser Hospitals and Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. The company has become the largest tree pruning company in the Japanese gardening community. In 1992, Mr. Tsuzuki also worked on a redesign project for Cypress Golf Club carried out byworld-class golf course designer, Pete Dye. In addition, Mr. Tsuzuki has volunteeredat the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and Orange County Buddhist Church. In 2017, he was honored by The Orange County Japanese American Association (OCJAA ) for his valuable community service .

2. The Agricultural Society of Japan’s Commendation Ceremony

The commendation ceremony for Mr. Owatari and Mr. Tsuzuki was held at the Consul General's Official Residence from 1:00 pm, on January 25, 2023, in the presence of family members, friends and related parties. Consul General Sone offered congratulations, and presented the certificate of commendation and the ribbon of the Green-White Achievement Award to them. Mr. Shinkichi Koyama, President of the Southern California Chapter of the Agricultural Society of Japan; Mr. Tak Nishi, Advisor, the Japanese Prefectures Association of Southern California; Ms. Sachiko Kasai, a friend of Mr. Owatari and an employee of his company Modern Zen Garden, Inc.; Mr. Haruo Takehana, President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, gave congratulatory remarks and praised their achievements.
In response, Mr. Owatari expressed his gratitude to his employees and family, and reflected on his journey to success through repeated challenges and failures. Mr. Tsuzuki also expressed his gratitude to those involved, reflected on his past supported by the Japanese American Nisei community and expressed his eagerness to contribute to the next generation.

After a toast by Mr. Toshimori Iwashita, President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, a reception took place.
Commendation (Left: Mr. Owatari, Right: Mr. Tsuzuki) Group photo
Remarks by Mr. Owatari Remarks by Mr. Tsuzuki