Last night, SPICE Director Gary Mukai was formally conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, for his lifelong contributions to the promotion of friendship and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.
The Order of the Rising Sun is a decoration in the Japanese honors system that dates back to 1875. It was established as the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese government, and it recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to Japan or its culture. It is one of the highest decorations conferred by the government.
Dr. Mukai accepted the decoration in a ceremony at the residence of the Honorable Jun Yamada, Consul General of Japan in San Francisco. Also in attendance were Dr. Mukai’s family, present and former colleagues at Stanford, key supporters of SPICE, and many other friends in the U.S.–Japan field.
Before presenting the decoration, Consul General Yamada recognized Dr. Mukai for his steadfast commitment to U.S.–Japan relations, praising both his career in cross-cultural education at SPICE as well as his decades-long support of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, a program supported by the Japanese government.
Dr. Daniel Okimoto, Stanford Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Dr. Mukai’s longtime friend and mentor, also addressed the evening’s guests. He commended Dr. Mukai’s trailblazing educational work in U.S.–Japan relations, including his development of numerous SPICE curriculum guides on Japan for K–12 classrooms and his creation of the Reischauer Scholars Program and the Stanford e-Japan Program—a pair of nation-wide online courses that teach American and Japanese high school students about each others’ countries.
During the ceremony, Mukai informed Consul General Yamada that the award is the greatest honor of his life and thanked him for his unwavering support of SPICE’s efforts to educate students in Japan and in the United States, and also thanked Dr. Okimoto for his 30 years of mentorship.
To read the Consulate’s announcement of the recipients of the Order of the Rising Sun, visit http://www.sf.us.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/17_1103.html.