On July 16, 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan announced the recipients of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for 2019. In our jurisdiction area, two sports organizations (Budokan Dojo and Seattle Dojo) and two Japanese community organizations (Japanese Community Service of Seattle and Nisei Veterans Committee) were selected for this honor.
Founded in 1968, Budokan Dojo has promoted judo in the Seattle area by hosting the annual U.S. Pacific Northwest regional judo competition. It has produced many talented Judo athletes, including American Olympians. It also has produced many judo instructors who have international referee licenses or serve as coaches of the United Sates Judo Federation and the International Judo Federation. It is also renowned for promoting women’s judo in the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle Dojo is the oldest judo school in North America, which was founded in 1903 by a judo expert from the Kodokan Judo Institute in Japan, inheriting the teachings of Jigoro Kano, the Institute’s founder. Seattle Dojo has hosted judo competitions and invited athletes from all over the United States since before World War II, and last year marked the 65th anniversary of its annual competition that started in 1953. While enduring many hardships, including its closure during World War II, it has continued to promote traditional Japanese judo across the U.S. Pacific Northwest region for more than one hundred years.
JAPANESE COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
Japanese Community Service of Seattle
Japanese Community Service of Seattle (JCS) was founded in 1949 as a mutual community group for Japanese and Japanese American people, inheriting the traditions of its predecessor, Seattle Japanese Association. As an umbrella organization for local Japanese organizations, JCS hosts welcome parties for visiting Japanese officials and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force fleets. JCS also had managed the oldest Japanese language school in North America, which was founded in 1902. To raise funds for the school, which is still active, it holds an annual concert, inviting Japanese performing musicians. Additionally, JCS has directed efforts towards preserving historical records and introducing Japanese culture through the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington.
Nisei Veterans Committee
The Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC) was founded in 1946 as a mutual support group for Japanese American veterans. Since 2013, it has hosted an annual luncheon for Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Army I Corps on the occasion of their joint exercise, largely contributing to strengthening the Japan-US security alliance. Additionally, since 2017, together with the Seattle Holocaust Center, the University of Washington, and the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle, NVC has been leading a joint project to promote cooperation and reconciliation among different ethnic groups. These efforts have played an important role in the interaction between the local Japanese American and other ethnic communities.
The Foreign Minister’s Commendation is awarded to individuals and groups for outstanding achievements in international fields to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries. This year, the Commendation will be awarded to 208 individuals and 65 groups worldwide.