Berklee Today

An Award from the Government of Japan

  Photograph of Medal
  The Badge of the Japanese Imperial Order of the Rising Sun was conferred upon Lee Eliot Berk on June 9.

On June 9, the government of Japan bestowed the Badge of the Japanese Imperial Order of the Rising Sun (gold rays with neck ribbon) upon Lee Eliot Berk. In a letter, Masuo Nishibayashi, consul general of Japan, stated that the award was made in recognition of the meritorious service Berk has rendered promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding between America and Japan.

Since 1955, when Lawrence Berk brought the first Japanese student, Toshiko Akiyoshi '57, to the school, Berklee has developed tremendous popularity among Japanese music students. In the last academic year, 255 students from Japan were enrolled at the college. Over the years, Berklee has conducted faculty clinics and concerts in Japan and invited music schools in Kobe and Tokyo to join the Berklee International Network of music schools. Numerous Japanese alumni have returned home to become influential leaders in the music industry and in music education. As well, the college enjoys strong relationships with Japanese music-products manufacturers.

"Berklee has had the good fortune to attract as students some of the most talented Japanese jazz musicians of the past 50 years," says Lee Eliot Berk. "The collaborations we have established with Japan's leading jazz schools have produced mutually beneficial exchanges that have enhanced jazz education internationally and produced lasting friendships. I am thrilled to receive the Imperial Badge for the strengthened bilateral relations that have resulted from Berklee's strong ties with Japan."