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Paul Maruyama Honored with Japanese Imperial Decoration

Paul K. Maruyama, a lecturer in Japanese in the German, Russian and East Asian languages department at Colorado College and president of the Japan America Society of Southern Colorado, has been named a recipient of the Japanese imperial decoration “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.”

Paul Maruyama Honored with Japanese Imperial Decoration

Paul K. Maruyama, a lecturer in Japanese in the German, Russian and East Asian languages department at Colorado College and president of the Japan America Society of Southern Colorado, has been named a recipient of the Japanese imperial decoration “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.”

The decoration, awarded by the Emperor of Japan to individuals worldwide, recognizes lifetime achievement and a commitment to excellence, with an emphasis on significant and positive contributions to mutual understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan.

“I am quite humbled and feel quite honored that I was included as one of the 40 foreigners worldwide selected this year to receive an imperial decoration,” Maruyama said. “This is especially significant to me since my father was decorated around 30 years ago posthumously with an imperial decoration as well. I don't consider myself worthy to follow in my father's footsteps.”

Maruyama is the author of “Escape from Manchuria,” which tells the story of his father and two friends who in 1946 devised a plan to escape to Japan from Soviet-occupied Manchuria. The book chronicles the courage and perseverance of the three men who eventually brought about the repatriation of 1.7 million Japanese civilians held captive under Soviet occupation in Manchuria.

Ikuhiko Ono, the Consulate General of Japan in Denver, said Maruyama has contributed to the promotion of mutual understanding between the two countries through teaching, both as an instructor of Japanese and as a judo instructor. Maruyama was one of the first Japanese language instructors at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the first Japanese language instructor at CC. As an athlete, he was a member of the U.S. judo team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  Additionally, he was the head coach of the 1980 and the 1984 U.S. Olympic judo teams.

Maruyama is a founding member of the Japan America Society of Southern Colorado, which has been honored twice for its active engagement in cultural exchange.  In addition, Maruyama is one of the founding members of the John Manjiro Whitfield Foundation of the USA.  In 1996 and 2006, he played an instrumental role in hosting of the John Manjiro Grassroots Summit in Colorado Springs, which is the largest grassroots exchange of people between the United States and Japan.

The Japanese government announces the awards each April 29, the birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito, the father of the present Emperor Akihito. A conferment ceremony will be held at the residence of the Consul General in Denver in June.