Dr. Kinji Tanaka Honored by the Government of Japan
Dr. Kinji Tanaka of Greater Cincinnati has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays by the Government of Japan in recognition of his significant contributions toward the enhancement of Japan and U.S. bilateral understanding.
Dr. Tanaka has been actively involved in linking Japan and America for many years. In 1981 he established the Japan Research Center of Greater Cincinnati, remaining its president for 33 years. At the same time he served as a Special Consultant to the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce in matters related to Japan. To help ease the trade friction between Japan and the United States that existed in those days Dr. Tanaka assisted with seminars promoting the export of American goods to Japan. He introduced Japanese investment into the United States, and supported U.S. trade missions to Japan. In addition, Dr. Tanaka served as an effective intermediary between Japan and Cincinnati in the fields of education, culture, medicine and tourism.
As a scholar, Dr. Tanaka conducted extensive research on notable individuals closely connected to both Japan and Cincinnati, such as Lafcadio Hearn, famed author of Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life (1896), and Kitaro Shirayamadani, the Japanese ceramic artist employed by Rookwood Pottery and whose work greatly influenced and brought international stature to the company. Dr. Tanaka introduced his valuable research to the public and in formal settings. He organized and lectured at an international conference on Hearn and, in 2004, participated in an international Hearn symposium in Matsue City, Japan. As a result of his studies, in 2013 Dr. Tanaka was invited to speak at an international symposium in Kanazawa City, Japan – this time on the artist Shirayamadani.
To facilitate the Japanese education of young Japanese students living in Greater Cincinnati temporarily, Dr. Tanaka was key in the establishment of a Saturday Japanese Language School in 1975 and has continued to contribute his support and guidance.
Throughout the Greater Cincinnati region, Dr. Kinji Tanaka is highly regarded and respected in both the Japanese and American communities.