Three to receive medals of honor from the Japanese government

Two Japanese and one American residing in Northern and Central California will receive kunsho, or medals of honor from Japan, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco announced Nov. 5.

This fall’s Japanese recipients of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays are Shigeru Kimura of San Francisco and Keizo Norimoto of Fresno, Calif. The American recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays with Neck Ribbon is Dr. Anne J. Davis of San Francisco.

Kimura, the longtime publisher of the Japanese-language Monthly Magazine MON, is the chairman of the Kinmon Gakuen Japanese language school in San Francisco’s Japantown. According to the Japanese Consulate, his accomplishments include the “promotion of Japanese language education and the welfare of Japanese nationals in the United States.”

According to the Consulate, Kimura has played an important role in promoting and developing Japanese media in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1967. After helping open the first Japanese TV station in the Bay Area, he published Monthly Magazine MON, a pioneering publication that has covered local community activities for more than 30 years. He subsequently founded the “Japanese Telephone and Reference Directory,” the first of its kind in Japanese.

“These Japanese-language publications have been a great asset through which the Japanese and Japanese American communities can share information,” said a statement from the Consulate.

Kimura is also credited for his role in cultural activities through the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival — particularly overseeing delegations from Japan — and the Japanese American Association of Northern California.

“Believing that language, media, and culture play important roles in this endeavor, he has served for more than 20 years on the board of Kinmon Gakuen, a Japanese language school established by Issei; helped establish the ‘Japan Club,’ an emergency network; and also contributed actively as a JAANC board member,” said the Consulate statement.

Norimoto, the former principal of the Fresno Japanese Language School and former president of the Hokubei Mainichi Shimbun community newspaper, is also being recognized for “promotion of Japanese language education and the welfare of Japanese nationals in the United States.”

According to the Consulate, Norimoto came to the United States in 1963 as a missionary from Nishi Honganji, one of the most renowned Buddhist temples in Japan. He subsequently founded Buddhist temples and Japanese language schools in Los Angeles and Fresno and provided active support to Japanese nationals and the Japanese American community.

“Mr. Norimoto has designed numerous Japanese textbooks and has also facilitated discussion and exchange between Japanese language teachers in the United States,” said the Consulate. “Mr. Norimoto’s enthusiasm for language studies has had a tremendously positive effect for students of Japanese in the United States.”

Davis, a professor emeritus at both the University of California, San Francisco and Nagano College of Nursing, is being recognized for her “contribution to human resource development in the nursing field in Japan” and “contribution to the improvement of nursing studies in Japan.”

According to the Consulate, since her participation in the International Conference on Nursing in Japan in 1977, Davis has introduced practical ideas about psychiatric nursing and nursing ethics to Japan’s nursing field.

“Dr. Davis greatly influenced nursing in Japan by bringing topics to the forefront that had previously been little-discussed in Japan, including ethical issues facing nurses in clinical situations, informing patients of their diagnosis, and human rights of patients and medical practitioners,” stated the Consulate.

Davis also had a great impact across Japan through her lectures and publications on nursing during her time at the Nagano College of Nursing as a professor from April 1995 to March 2001 and as a part-time lecturer from September 2002 to September 2003.

She has also been committed to bringing graduate students from the Nagano College of Nursing to San Francisco, where they study nursing with her support.

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