Conferment Ceremony of Foreign Minister’s Commendation for Mrs. Akiko Bourland


On Aug. 16, 2023 (JST), the Government of Japan announced the recipients of its 2023 Foreign Minister’s Commendation. From the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, Mrs. Akiko Bourland was awarded.  


On Friday, April 5, 2024, Mrs. Bourland was presented the Foreign Minister’s Commendation.  


The Foreign Minister's Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups for outstanding achievements in international fields, to acknowledge their contribution to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries. The Commendation also aims to engage the understanding and support of the Japanese public for these activities.  


The following are Mrs. Bourlands contributions to the Japan-US relationship that have resulted in her being awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation: 


Mrs. Bourland is very actively involved in ikebana, having served as the founding branch head of Ohara Ikebana San Diego for over half a century, serving as an instructor in the art of flower arrangement and contributing significantly to the promotion and development of ikebana. She has served as an ikebana instructor at the local community college for over 50 years, with thousands of students under her guidance. She has taught without regard to cultural background or race, nurturing the spread and development of ikebana and also fostering Japan enthusiasts and Japanophiles in the local community, thus greatly contributing to the mutual understanding and promotion of Japan-US relations. 


Mrs. Bourland's solo exhibitions have garnered much attention, and she also has received commendations from then-California Governor, Gray Davis. In recognition of her achievements, she has received commendations from the Mayor of San Diego at the time, the Consul General in Los Angeles (c. 2001), the Honorary Consul of San Diego, and a letter of appreciation from Wakako Ohara, the highest advisor of the Ohara Ikebana school. 


Mrs. Bourland's publications are widely known and utilized as educational materials not only in the United States, but also by members and students of various ikebana organizations worldwide, contributing significantly to the promotion and understanding of Japanese culture across nations and organizations. 


Mrs. Bourland has been awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation in recognition of her contribution to mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S.