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College of Education Emeritus Professor receives prestigious award from the Japanese Government

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: May 15, 2008

HONOLULU - Esther Masako Tateishi Sato, professor emeritus in the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, will be decorated by the government of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for her accomplishments in national and public services and for promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the United States. A reception will be held in her honor on May 23 at the Japanese Consulate where she will be bestowed with the award.

The Order of the Rising Sun, established in 1875, is Japan‘s first national decoration and one of their most prestigious awards. Administered by the Decoration Bureau of the Office of the Prime Minister, the award is given in the name of the Emperor.

"I am overwhelmed, and with deep humility and appreciation, I accept this award from the Japanese Government," Sato said. "At the same time, I would like to share this great honor with all of those who have had a part in many of my undertakings throughout my career."

Throughout Sato‘s distinguished accomplishments over an astounding seven decades, she has worked to promote Hawaiʻi as a bridge between East and West. The first World‘s Fair in 1939 served as a catalyst for her mission to "encourage East-West exchange and cross-pollinate culture and knowledge in every way [she] could," Sato said. As a private English tutor for the wife of the Japanese Consul in New York City at the time, Sato participated in the fair as a greeter at the Japanese Pavilion. Fielding questions from passersby made her realize the necessity for a better understanding and appreciation of both the East and West.

With the COE since 1964, Sato began as a supervisor of student teaching and instructor of Japanese at the University Laboratory School. Over the next two decades, she served as assistant, associate, and then full professor of education in the Department of Curriculum Studies, culminating in her emeritus status in 1985. She is responsible for establishing the most popular summer study tour of Japan in cooperation with UH. The program ran for 13 years from 1977—1990.

Even before Sato‘s university career, she had begun promoting Japanese language education locally and abroad through workshops, seminars, and numerous pilot programs. Her series of widely used Japanese textbooks, teachers' manuals, student workbooks, and other materials are still being used at schools here and on the mainland.

Today, Sato continues to advise the COE‘s International Exchange Program as well as assist high school teachers from Keio University in their transition to living and studying in Hawaiʻi.