By Akari Terouchi
Thomas S. Brooke received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, from the Japanese Government last fall. The award ceremony was held at Consul General Masahiro Omura’s official residence last Thursday, joined by community members and Brooke’s friends.
“We are very happy to present the decoration to Mr. Brooke today,” said Omura, who thanked Brooke for his efforts in promoting Japanese culture to local communities to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship.
Mayor of Bellevue John Stokes, City Council Member Conrad Lee and Takeshi Katsurada, president of the Japan Business Association of Seattle, also gave remarks to congratulate Brooke.
Brooke led Aki Matsuri, a Japanese cultural festival on the Eastside, for 18 years until 2015 and contributed to a mutual understanding between Japan and the United States. The 2015 event gathered 23,000 visitors and 150 organizations, and the festival was thereafter succeeded by the Japan Fair 2016, to which Brooke contributed in the transition process. He also served as representative of the Seattle Japanese Garden and led the Japanese Garden Symposium. His other community services included the Nikkei Concerns (current Keiro Northwest), Bellevue Sister Cities Association, Japanese American Citizens League Lake Washington Chapter, Japan-America Society of the State of Washington’s Japan in the School Program, Japanese Language School and more.
The award is given to a person who has had a remarkable effect on the state or the public and made remarkable achievements. Brooke also received the Foreign Ministry Award in 2015.
“I was quite surprised for the unexpected and unforeseen prime honor,” said Brooke, who also gave thanks for all the support he received.