On April 29, the government of Japan announced the recipients of its Spring 2017 Decorations. From the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, the following two distinguished persons will be awarded:
The recipient’s meritorious service towards Japan is as follows:
Doizaki was born in Los Angeles is a third-generation Japanese American. After graduating from Crespi High School in 1965, he enrolled at the University of San Francisco, and at the same time began assisting at American Fish Company, owned by his father George Doizaki (recipient of a 1982 Japanese government decoration).
Upon graduating, he studied at Waseda University in Tokyo and after returning to the U.S. in 1972, he was appointed assistant general manager at American Fish Company and achieved a great expansion of its business. He has supported the promotion of Japanese food products from the supply side, and has also participated actively in the local Japanese American community.
Particularly noteworthy is his involvement in the Japanese American National Museum, which opened in 1992. Because his relatives were confined in U.S. internment camps during World War II, he has great interest in honoring and advancing the status of Japanese Americans.
He served on the Board of Trustees since the museum’s conceptual phase and was the board’s chair fro 2010 to 2014. In 2010, JANM received the U.S. National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The museum shares the difficult history of Japanese Americans as an important part of U.S. history, transmitting the message that the unjust treatment of Japanese Americans should not be repeated with any other minority group, and has become a symbolic institution for the diverse Southern California region.
Through widely sharing the Japanese American story as an integral part of U.S. history, he has contributed to advancing the status of Japanese Americans and the building of a future-oriented relationship between Japanese Americans and Japan. Due to Doizaki’s efforts, awareness of the museum in Japan has been heightened, and dignitaries such as Crown Prince Naruhito and Prime Ministers Keizo Obuchi and Shinzo Abe have visited the Museum.
Doizaki has also played an important role in promoting Japanese food widely in the U.S., serving as CEO of American Fish Company from 1982 to 2014. During a time when procurement of Japanese food products was difficult in the U.S., his company was indispensable to local Japanese restaurants with its weekly deliveries of fish flown in from Japan.
Under his leadership, American Fish Company contributed greatly to the promotion of Japanese food throughout the U.S. by establishing transit warehouses in major U.S. cities. Doizaki has also been involved with the U.S.-based Japanese Restaurant Association, established in 2009, furthering relationships with the Japanese restaurant industry.
Doizaki has also supported U.S. society beyond the Japanese American community through corporate donations, and in 1994 he received the Spirit of Life Award from City of Hope, a care and research facility for cancer patients. Currently he is the CEO of Kansas Marine Company, which supplies food products to U.S. luxury cruise lines.
Krauss was born in Memphis, Tenn. in 1944 and grew up in Brooklyn. After graduating from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, he entered Stanford University in 1964 and received his doctorate in political science in 1973. Krauss has since held professorships at Western Washington University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego.
After almost 20 years at UCSD, he retired with the title of professor emeritus in 2015. Krauss has contributed to promoting academic exchange between Japan and the U.S. and improving the understanding of Japan in the U.S. for over 45 years.
One of the leading experts in Japanese politics and diplomacy, Krauss has conducted extensive research and has written approximately 100 papers and books on these subjects. His research has been highly respected among his peers, and he has been published in the most prestigious political science journals in the world, including **American Political Science Review** and **American Journal of Political Science.** He has also authored or edited eight books.
He has conducted research on Japan in comparative perspective at several top universities around the world, including Japan, the U.K., Germany, and Italy, and is currently working on a new co-authored book with German and American colleagues comparing Germany’s and Japan’s security policies under their postwar constitutions.
Among many other roles in which he served, Krauss looks back especially fondly on his five years as director of the International Career Associates Program (now Global Leadership Institute) at UCSD, an executive education course for bureaucrats and economic experts of various countries, including Japan; and on helping these students develop as internationally minded leaders.
Many of Krauss’ students have gone on to succeed in the fields of Japanese politics and foreign affairs, notable among them John Nylin, Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Department of State; Dan Smith, associate professor of Japanese politics at Harvard University; and Kuniaki Nemoto, associate professor of Japanese politics at Musashi University in Tokyo.
The Japanese government on Nov. 3 announced the recipients of its Autumn 2017 Decorations. Two individuals from the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles will be awarded.
Kitty Sankey, 70, of Los Angeles will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for contributions to promoting the status of the Japanese American community and friendly relations between Japan and the U.S.
Thelma Press, 90, of San Diego will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for contributions to promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.
The conferment ceremonies for both recipients will be held on a later date. Details will be announced separately.
Following are profiles of the recipients.
Kitty Sankey is a third-generation Japanese American who was born in Tokyo. After graduating from Kubasaki High School, located on a U.S. military base in Okinawa, she attended UCLA and received her bachelor’s degree. She was a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District until her retirement in 2009.
In addition to her career as an educator, she has participated actively in the Japanese American community. She has a strong sense of justice, and as a leader in the community she was a significant contributor to the fight for redress from the U.S. government on behalf of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in camps during World War II.
She has served numerous community organizations, including the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, Japanese Women’s Society of Southern California, Japanese American Optimist Club, and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)-Downtown Los Angeles Chapter, and has gained the strong trust of the regional Japanese American and Japanese communities.
Since 1992, Sankey has been actively involved in the enhancement of goodwill and welfare in the Japanese and Japanese American communities and the promotion of Japan-U.S. mutual understanding through membership in the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California. Her appointment as president of the chamber in 2016 was groundbreaking as she became not only the first female president, but was also the first whose mother language is English.
She has created the foundation necessary for the strengthening of bridges between Japan and the U.S. through deepening relations with the regional community. In addition to appealing to an increased number of Japanese Americans to join the chamber as members, through her networks in American society she helped realize events between the chamber and organizations such as the Port of Los Angeles and chambers of commerce of other communities.
During her term as president of the chamber, Sankey served on the Japan House Los Angeles Steering Committee, which was formed to provide advice on the projected opening of the Japan House in the fall of 2017, and participated in discussions as a representative of the local Japanese American community.
Since 2006, she has been involved in the Japanese Women’s Society of Southern California, which implements activities that promote friendship among Japanese-heritage women and social welfare projects, and contributes greatly to the advancement of women. She has served as vice president since 2008, and has also served in various other positions such as chair of the Scholarship Committee, and has initiated visits to Japanese American seniors in the community. She led a collaboration with the JACL–Downtown L.A. Chapter, of which she serves as vice president, to annually recognize the contributions of “Women of the Year.”
Since 2005, Sankey has also served as vice president of youth of the Japanese American Optimist Club, which aims to foster fellowship in the Japanese American community and the healthy development of young people. She manages the organization of the JAO’s annual Halloween and Christmas parties for children in the community. In addition, with the support of numerous volunteers, she plays a central role as director of other youth events.
Sankey has also served for many years as president of the JACL–Downtown L.A. Chapter, and actively worked to lobby the U.S. government for redress concerning the Japanese American internment during World War II. Through her involvement in the JACL she has also contributed greatly to the larger community, including Skid Row, where due to the large homeless population many children are unable to get an adequate education. In 1989, she was chair of her JACL chapter’s 60th anniversary celebration, which concurrently was a fundraising dinner to raise scholarship funds for Ninth Street School, which many Skid Row children attended. This fundraising effort led to an increase in awareness of the plight of the children, and became the impetus for the establishment of a scholarship mechanism for Ninth Street School.
Thelma Press was born in Darjeeling, India when it was part of the British Empire. She studied geography at Loreto College in Calcutta, where one of her teachers was Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta. After the end of World War II in 1945, when Press was traveling by ship through Asia to the U.S., she was exposed to the misery and wreckage from the war and the plight of children in refugee camps. She resolved that children should not be punished for the sins of adults, and that she would do anything she could to help.
Thereafter she developed a strong commitment to world peace. Her strong will and passion, commitment to volunteerism, and untiring energy venturing into uncharted areas attracted many supporters, and she became a pioneer of the sister-city movement in the U.S. She has been recognized for her contributions on numerous occasions. Sister Cities International honored her with the Ruth Hashimoto Award in 2009 and in 2012 she was assigned the organization’s highest designation of “Global Envoy.”
Press has thus far received 62 awards from various organizations for her achievements, including an honorary doctorate in business administration in 2011 from California International Business University for her work in international relations.
After settling in San Bernardino, she co-founded the San Bernardino-Tachikawa sister city relationship in 1959, the first within the city of Tokyo (Tachikawa is a district of Tokyo) and the 27th formed in Japan. Between 1965 and 1974, she served as the chair of the San Bernardino-Tachikawa Sister City Committee, along with her husband, Louis.
The high school student exchange program, a core program of the relationship, remains active to this day. Over 200 students from the two cities have participated to date and include Japanese students who were welcomed into the Press home and became part of their extended family.
Mrs. Press also served for close to 20 years as the cultural and international affairs director for the Mayor’s Office, and in 2013 to commemorate the over 50 years of the sister-city relationship, the City of San Bernardino dedicated a plaque at City Hall in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Press.
In 1972, Mrs. Press was appointed as the state representative for California of Sister Cities International, and was elected to the national Board of Directors in 1977. Her achievements, leadership, and great knowledge of sister cities became well known nationally.
She also became deeply involved with the San Diego sister cities program while living in San Bernardino. She became a board member of the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society in 1981, later served as vice president, and then as president from 2013 to 2015. During her presidency, she not only strengthened exchanges in people-to-people relations and culture, but also in trade and education through realizing economic exchanges with the City of Yokohama and sister-school ties.
In 1994 Press became a member of the Board of Directors of the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego, and she has served as first vice president since 2013. In overseeing the expansion project of the garden, which included the opening of the Inamori Pavilion in 2015, she was a key member of meetings on a broad range of aspects including fundraising and design, to ensure Japanese tradition was authentically reproduced.
The garden actively features Japanese seasonal events and exhibits continually throughout the year such as New Year’s celebrations and Cherry Blossom Festivals, and Press continuously dedicates her efforts to introduce and promote Japanese culture to the many visitors who visit the garden from throughout the world.
Original Stories by Rafu Shimpo