On Nov. 3 (Japan Standard Time), the Government of Japan announced the recipients of its Fall 2021 Decorations. From the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, the following two distinguished persons will be awarded. Information about a conferment ceremony will be provided at a later date.
The recipients’ meritorious service towards Japan is as follows:
David Ono (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette)
The evening anchor for ABC7 Eyewitness News, the top-rated news program in Southern California, Ono has produced and broadcasted a wide array of programs about Japanese and Japanese American issues. His work is highly acclaimed and has received numerous awards. As a journalist, Ono has made a significant contribution to promoting the understanding of Japan in the U.S.
In 2010, at the request of the Go For Broke National Education Center, which documents and teaches the war experience of Japanese American soldiers, Ono produced a documentary called “Unknown Warriors of World War II.” It features the brave fight by Nisei soldiers in Europe during World War II and the immense gratitude from the European citizens who were liberated by them. The documentary, which aired on his news program on ABC7, was a huge hit and was also aired on PBS stations across the country. The documentary won three Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the journalism industry.
In 2014, Ono produced “The Legacy of Heart Mountain,” a documentary based on 2,000 photographs secretly taken during World War II depicting life in a Japanese American internment camp in Wyoming. Ono shined a light on the difficult and often tragic results of living in this rugged place, but also showed the spiritual strength and friendship cultivated in adversity. “The Legacy of Heart Mountain” won the Edward R. Murrow Award and four Emmys. It was broadcast on ABC7 and PBS as well as screened at the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, helping to educate Americans about a chapter in history that has been largely ignored.
In 2011, Ono immediately flew to Japan after learning about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in the Tohoku region. His timely reports helped inform Americans of the dire situation in Japan as the country dealt with the unprecedented disaster. One year later, he went back to Tohoku, where many scars remained. He reported on the reconstruction efforts as well as amplified local voices who were still in desperate need of help through his news program.
In 2021, Ono moderated the 10th anniversary memorial online event co-sponsored by Japan House Los Angeles and Love to Nippon. He also made it available live on the ABC7 website. He emphasized the need to apply the lessons learned in Japan to the Los Angeles area, an earthquake-prone zone similar to Japan.
Ono created Emmy Award-winning reports on the 70th and 75th anniversaries of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, detailing the horrible catastrophe and conveying the message that such a tragedy should never be repeated.
In spite of his busy schedule as an anchor, he remains active in supporting local Japanese American organizations and communities through attending numerous events as an emcee, moderator or speaker throughout the year.
Bryan Takeda (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays)
Serving four terms, or a total of eight years, as president of Pasadena JCI, Takeda worked to expand Japanese cultural program offerings such as kyudo (archery), taiko drums, karate and ikebana flower arrangement. In 2016, he founded Mirai Nihongo Gakuin–Pasadena Japanese Language Academy at the Pasadena JCI, becoming its president.
For at least three decades, Takeda has been actively involved in the Japanese-related community. He joined the Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute in 1986, greatly contributing to the introduction of Japanese culture as well as friendship and goodwill between Japan and the U.S. In 1996, he established the Nikkei Federation and contributed, as a founder, to Japanese-related community partnerships and development.
By working out a way to incorporate Japanese culture-related activities into classes, Takeda helped encourage long-term attendance by students, contributing to the spread of Japanese language and culture.
With the Nikkei Federation counting a total 17 community organizations in Los Angeles County and Orange County as members, Takeda has proactively created a useful forum for information exchanges, contributing to the Japanese-related community’s partnerships and development. In 2002, he founded the Nikkei Federation Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program, with about 25 high school students taking part annually, bringing the number of total participants to 350 or so to date. Many of the participants are Japanese American youth, making the program an important source of leaders within the Japanese and Japanese American communities in Los Angeles.
Takeda has also served as an official of the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee, Mishima Subcommittee from 2002. During a visit to Japan in 2001, he met with the mayor of Mishima, personally initiating the establishment of the Pasadena-Mishima Friendship Youth Exchange Program. Until the program was paused in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program facilitated youth exchanges every year, alternating between the cities of Mishima and Pasadena.
By creating opportunities for Japan-U.S. exchanges among younger generations for a long-standing period of time, Takeda has contributed to the promotion of friendship and goodwill between the two countries.
Between 2009 and 2012, Takeda served as program director for the U.S.-Japan Council. Following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake disaster, he helped raise contributions for hard-hit regions, bringing the USJC’s total fundraising for such efforts to over $1 million. The funds were contributed to non-government organizations in Japan, contributing to assistance efforts for the disaster zone.