Home Community Tomio Moriguchi and family receive Seattle-King County “First Citizen Award”

Tomio Moriguchi and family receive Seattle-King County “First Citizen Award”

Tomio Moriguchi, publisher of the NAP, and his family, have been chosen as the 2020 recipients of the Seattle-King County “First Citizen Award.” Their selection was announced on July 14.

The award recognizes Mr. Moriguchi’s six decades of service to the Seattle Japanese community, the Chinatown-International District, the City of Seattle, and the State of Washington. For in addition to leading the rise of his family’s business, Uwajimaya, after the early death of his Issei father in 1962—following the opening of the World’s Fair that gave us the Space Needle–Tomio has consistently “given back” in the form of voluntary service to many community boards.

In the 1960s, Moriguchi began with work on behalf of the International District. Example organizations he fostered are the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) and Denise Louie Education Center.

In the 1970s, Moriguchi helped grow the incipient Japanese American redress movement with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Seattle chapter. A game-changing project was the Pride and Shame exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). He later served on the National Council for Japanese American Redress.

From 1975, Moriguchi began addressing senior care through Issei Concerns. This evolved into Nikkei Concerns, then Keiro Northwest.

In 1984, then-Governor John Spellman appointed Moriguchi as a member of the Washington State Advisory Council on International Trade Development. In 1988, Moriguchi became president and owner of the North American Post.

In 2005, Moriguchi received a Kunsho award from the Japanese government. This rarely given medal recognizes substantive contributions to developing Japanese American society and enhancing friendship between Japan and the United States.

In being selected for the First Citizen award, the Moriguchis are only the fifth family to receive the prestigious award since 1939. In doing so, they join the Mary Gates family (1995 recipients), the Bullitt family (KING-TV broadcasting, 2000), the McCaw family (cell phones, 2004), and the Pigott family (Paccar trucks, 2018).

The award is given annually by Seattle-King County Realtors, a nonprofit trade association whose goals include promoting ethical business practices and supporting policies that preserve and expand real property rights and housing affordability. It salutes “giving back—whether time, treasure or talent”—and civic engagement that enhances the region’s quality of life. Other individual or couple recipients since 2000 have included Scott and Laurie Oki, Dan and Nancy Evans, Dale Chihuly, Paul G. Allen, Gerard Schwarz, Hon. Slade Gorton (2010), Lenny Wilkens, Hon. Norman B. Rice, Phyllis Campbell, and Bill and Jill Ruckelshaus (2017).

The award will be given to the Moriguchi family at a future civic banquet. Its date, time, and location are not yet set.