Noriko and I did something very different yesterday afternoon and thought we’d share it with solarflareblog.com readers. We were lucky enough to be invited to the Dunthorpe home of the Consulate General of Japan to honor a man that I look up to for inspiration – Mr. Junki Yoshida. This was his day and we were joined by many others to witness Junki receive the prestigious Foreign Minister’s Commendation award bestowed upon him by the country of Japan. It was a special moment and we were honored to be here.
The Japanese government awarded local businessman Junki Yoshida for nurturing Oregon-Japan relations. This award is given each year to individuals and groups worldwide for outstanding contributions to the friendly relationship and mutual understanding between Japan and their countries. Yoshida, chairman and president of the Yoshida Group, was praised for activities such as serving as an adviser to the Oregon governor, serving as a Port of Portland commissioner, commissioner of the Oregon Economic and Community Development Commission, and as a board member of the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
Introducing Junki was the Consul General of Japan, Takanichi Okabe, and speaking at this event were the likes of two Oregon governors – current Governor Ted Kulongoski and the past-and-future Governor John Kitzhaber. The gathering was impressive and included representatives from all walks of life including local and state politics, business, philanthropy, culture, and education, with smatterings of long-time friends and family amongst new acquaintances.
We are in the later category.
The first time I recall meeting Junki Yoshida was when he was handling out samples of his Yoshida’s Original Gourmet Sauce at a Portland area Costco. This was many years ago of course. Yoshida started selling his sauce at Costco when there were only two stores and the companies grew together. Today Junki’s products are sold worldwide and he is a multi-millionaire who controls the Yoshida Group which is a conglomerate comprised of 18 diverse companies.
Around these parts Yoshida’s rages-to-riches story is well chronicled. Based on a “secret family recipe” for a teriyaki-style gourmet marinade, the Yoshida Group originated from the humble beginnings of Junki and Linda Yoshida’s kitchen more than 20 years ago. The success of the company has permitted Junki to give back to his community through generous support of local sponsorships such as those mentioned above.
I wasn’t surprised to see representatives of solar businesses and some mover-shakers from the local sustainability community at this event.
Yoshida recently hired Inspec Group and Sanyo Solar to install 800 solar photovoltaic panels at his headquarters on NE Sacramento Street in Portland.
I’ll soon be writing an article about this impressive solar array and Yoshida’s embrace of renewable energy for the Solar Oregon Newsletter.
Congratulations Junki, you certainly have earned and clearly deserve the respect you received from Japan and America! We both claim you … to our credit.