2018 Spring Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals

On April 29, 2018 (Japan Time), the Government of Japan announced the foreign recipients of the 2018 Spring Conferment of Japanese Decorations.

Among the 140 foreign recipients, one recipient has been recognized for his contributions in Northern California. The recipient is Stephen Korenori Nakajo.

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Name (age):       Stephen Korenori Nakajo (71)
Decoration:        Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays
Service:              Contributed to improving the welfare of Japanese
                           Americans in the United States and promoting
                           mutual understanding between the United States and Japan
Major Titles:      Co-Founder and Former Executive Director of Kimochi,
                           Inc.
                           Executive Director of the Japantown Task Force
                           Vice President of the San Francisco Fire Commission
                           Former Lecturer of Asian American Studies at San
                           Francisco State University
Address:             San Francisco (U.S.A.)

Summary of Conributions:
  • Mr. Nakajo co-founded Kimochi, Inc. with Ms. Sandy Mori to begin helping the Issei (first generation Japanese Americans) in San Francisco’s Japantown. Kimochi, Inc. has been providing culturally-sensitive care for seniors in San Francisco for 47 years now, 45 of which were under his leadership, and a second facility in San Mateo was opened in 2016.
  • Over the course of 40 years, Mr. Nakajo was a lecturer in Japanese American studies, Asian American studies, and social work at San Francisco State University (SFSU), Asian American studies at San Jose State University, and sociology at City College of San Francisco. His teaching career began in the Japanese American Studies Program in SFSU's School of Ethnic Studies, where he helped form some of the very first courses in the subject.

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