Since 1875 when Emperor Meiji established the Order of the Rising Sun, or 旭日賞 (kyokujitsu), Japan has honored global citizens for their distinguished achievements and their contributions to Japan. This year, five individuals from the Boston area have been awarded. In this new Reiwa era, this is a special honor indeed. At JSB, we are thrilled that two awardees are members of our board of directors.
William W. Hunt will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (旭日小綬章). Our current Chair of the Board, Mr. Hunt has been dedicated to the US/Japan friendship for many years. In the official award announcement, Mr. Hunt is cited “for an enormous contribution to enriching understanding and communication between Japan and the United States.” Hunt has lived and worked in Japan, especially in investment management, and has been a leader in many projects to bring Japan to Boston.
Keiko Thayer will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays (旭日双光章). Ms. Thayer is a long-time board member of the Japan Society of Boston (since 1987) and a professional Ikebana Master. Ms. Thayer is cited for “promoting Japanese culture and cultural exchange between Japan and the United States.” The Society gives an annual award for cultural exchange named for Ms. Thayer’s late husband, John E. Thayer III.
It is also notable that Ashton B. Carter, former Secretary of Defense (2015-2017) under President Barack Obama, will receive the highest degree: Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon (旭日大綬章), for his work building the US-Japan security alliance. Carter is currently Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Keiko Matsudo Orrall, a former Republican Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays (旭日双光章). As the daughter of Japanese, German, and Irish immigrants, she worked to help Japanese and other groups to have a voice in the State, and to strengthen ties between the US and Japan. Ms. Orrall is now the executive director of the State Office of Travel and Tourism.
John Paul Holdren, former director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy and senior advisor to President Barack Obama (2009-2017), will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star (旭日重光章). Holdren was cited for “advancing the cooperation in science and technology fields between Japan and the United States.” He continues to dedicate himself to studying environmental changes, energy technology and policies, and nuclear energy and weapons.
The Japan Society of Boston congratulates these remarkable individuals as they are decorated by the Emperor and government of Japan. We are all inspired by their efforts to make the world stronger by strengthening the US/Japan friendship and alliance.