The United States – Japan Foundation established its Distinguished Service Award in 2005. The award honors American and Japanese individuals for their lifetime commitment to promoting friendship and understanding between the peoples of the United States and Japan. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees selects award recipients and often makes a grant of approximately $10,000 to a US or Japanese not-for-profit organization in honor of the award recipient.

Recipients of the award include:


Mr. Shigeaki Mori

Atomic Bomb Survivor, Historian and focus of the film Paper Lanterns,
for his work in researching American POWs held in Hiroshima during WWII.


Dr. Kurt A. Gitter, MD, FACS

Founder, Gitter-Yelen Art Study Center, New Orleans


Dr. Ezra F. Vogel

Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus
Harvard University


Mr. Minoru “Ben” Makihara

Senior Corporate Advisor and Former Chairman
Mitsubishi Corporation


Honorable Robin Chandler Duke

Former Ambassador to Norway
Co-Founder of the US-Japan Foundation

Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda

Honorary Chairman
Toyota Motor Corporation


Honorable Yasuhiro Nakasone

Prime Minister of Japan 1982-1987


Ambassador Walter F. Mondale

US Ambassador to Japan (1993-1996)
Vice President of the United States (1977-1981)

Mr. Tadashi Yamamoto

JCIE, President and Founder 1970-2012


Ambassador Yoshio Okawara

Japan’s Ambassador to the US 1980-1988


Ambassador Thomas S. Foley

US Ambassador to Japan 1997-2001