On April 29, the Government of Japan announced that Lori Lei Matsukawa, former KING5-TV news anchor and former president of the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, in recognition of her contributions in promoting friendly relations between Japan and the United States. On the same date, the Government of Japan also announced that Tsutomu (“Tom”) Sasaki, former chair of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington, has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, in recognition of his contributions in promoting friendly relations between Japan and the United States.
As a news anchor for Seattle’s KING5-TV for 36 years, Matsukawa significantly contributed to increase awareness of Japanese American (JA) history with her reporting and Emmy award-winning documentary films about the history of JA wartime incarceration in the Northwest. She also provided impartial, first-hand reports about Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Her work significantly contributed to a wider understanding of Japan from many perspectives.
In 2003, Matsukawa co-founded the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington (JCCCW) and has for nearly 20 years taken an active role in leading the organization’s activities. The JCCCW is now a representative institution for Seattle’s JA community, and through its history preservation projects, its hosting of many cultural events such as Children’s Day and Culture Day, and its operation of the longest-running Japanese language school in North America, contributes greatly to furthering mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.
Tom Sasaki has served the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington for over 40 years, contributing tirelessly to the development of the organization. As its first Japan-born president, Sasaki serves as a bridge between U.S. and Japanese companies, contributing significantly to furthering economic exchange between the U.S. and Japan.
At the same time, as president of the Japanese Community Service of Seattle (Nikkeijin-kai), he has worked to strengthen ties by increasing opportunities for exchange between JAs and Japanese nationals living in Washington State through establishing the Nikkei Community Network and Musical Bridge Benefit Concert. Sasaki’s efforts have created a foundation for cooperation between the JA and Japanese communities and contributed to furthering that relationship.