Glenn Tanaka honored by the Government of Japan


Glenn Tanaka

On November 3, 2020, the Government of Japan announced the recipients of its Fall 2020 Decorations and within this Consulate General's jurisdiction, Mr. Glenn Takeo Tanaka received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays.

While Mr. Tanaka has been producing high quality vegetables and fruits at his farm in Irvine, Orange County for over the 40 years, he has contributed to the community by organizing the nutritional education for children as well as harvest tours at his farm. Mr. Tanaka has also donated to the victims at the affected farms as well as the students who study agriculture at the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Mr. Tanaka started “Walk the Farm”, a fund-raising event for the Eastern Japan including Fukushima prefecture, with the “Orange Coast Optimist Club’s Helping Farms Feed Families”, which was established in 2011 when Mr. Tanaka was President of Orange Coast Optimist Club. At the event, the participants can have an opportunity to enjoy seasonal harvests at the farm, and at the same time, the participants can deepen their understanding of the earthquake disaster at the exhibition booth to inform the current situation of the affected areas by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The funds raised at the event has been donated to the earthquake victims.

Since its launching in 2011, the event has been supported by the total of over 5,000 volunteers, and participated with more than 15,000 visitors. As a result, more than 800,000 US dollars are donated to Japan. In 2020, the event was cancelled, because of the coronavirus pandemic; however, Mr. Tanaka raised 20,000 US dollars donation. So far, the donation has been distributed to 20 farmers in the affected areas by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, 8 students who studies agriculture at the Iwate University and the Fukushima University.

When Mr. Tanaka was President of the Orange Cost Optimist Club, he was actively involved in the youth education. In 2012, Mr. Tanaka set up the Youth Advisory Committee within the organization. The establishment made it possible to provide coordinated support to the youth activities and ensure the continuity of the activities. In 2012, Mr. Tanaka also launched exchange program by inviting Japanese secondary and high school student. Every year, the Club invites 30 to 120 students to the “Walk the Farm” event to interact with the students in California.

Mr. Tanaka has been also engaged in the operation of the Tanaka Farm over 40 years, including the joint operation with his farther. He is not only producing the agricultural products, but also providing the opportunities to experience farming to the wide range of the community. In 1988, Mr. Tanaka launched farm experience program for the local children. In 1998, he opened his farm to the public, and launched educational tours and agritourism for the public. Currently, he provides agricultural experience to 150,000 people including 35,000 children in urban area every year, and engages in agricultural education and training of successors.
Mr. Tanaka has contributed to the local community. He has been organizing the New Year’s mochi pounding event at the Tanaka Farm to inherit Japanese culture for the long time. He also organizes many harvest events such as strawberry and pumpkin, with the Japan Business Association of Southern California. The annual pumpkin harvest festival in October is the biggest event with more than 100,000 visitors.

Mr. Tanaka’s long-time contribution to the community was recognized by many organizations. For example, in 2017, he received the Green-White Achievement Award from the Agricultural Society of Japan.

The conferment ceremony for Mr. Tanaka was held on Monday, March 15, 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremonies were held at the Consul General’s Official Residence with a very small number of guests.