AKIKO JONES HONORED BY JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER
Akiko Kawano Jones, Asian studies, was surrounded by more than 100 of her friends, family, colleagues from Bowling Green and beyond, and current and former students while she was presented the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation on Nov. 6. Mitsuhiro Wada, Consul General of Japan, presented the award from Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in recognition of her “outstanding efforts toward mutual understanding between Japan and the United States, with distinguished achievements which have contributed to Japan’s friendship and goodwill with other countries.”
The foreign minister’s award tops the list of numerous recognitions Jones has received.
Over her 30 years of teaching, Jones has embraced her students as her own, teaching them not only the Japanese language but also the culture, taking them on trips to Japan and arranging internships for them with Japanese companies. In 2014, she established the Akiko Kawano Jones Study Abroad Scholarship to enable students to study in Japan.
She has also assisted Japanese businesses locating in northwest Ohio and served on Ohio trade missions to Japan. All those speaking in tribute to her noted her gentle but effective role in making things happen.
In accepting the award, Jones noted that when she came to the United States 45 years ago, people were so unfamiliar with Japanese life that they often asked her questions such as what happened to the “paper houses” when it rained. Today, she said, happily there is much greater cultural awareness.