Clint Eastwood has been decorated with a medal by the Emperor of Japan for his notable contributions to the enhancement of Japan – U.S. relations.
The award was presented to Mr. Eastwood in Los Angeles by Consul General Junichi Ihara on July 22. The decoration Eastwood received is “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.”
The medal has been awarded to Mr. Eastwood for his contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the United States of America through film productions, and specifically in recognition of his work in “Letters from Iwo Jima.”
Consul General of Japan, Junichi Ihara expressed his personal sentiments: “I am humbled before the enormousness of what Mr. Clint Eastwood has achieved as an actor and filmmaker. It is really my honor to confer the Kunsho to him on behalf of the Government of Japan.”
Upon accepting the award Clint Eastwood said: “I know that Japan and the United States have been at peace for many years but we will never take that for granted. We always will remember the sacrifices both sides have made during the war.”
“The main reason for making Letters from Iwo Jima as well as Flags of Our Fathers was to show what war does to the common man. It is the common man and the common woman that bear the brunt of all wars.”
Eastwood said that he wanted “to show that war does rob human beings of their souls, and it shows a lesser nobility of mankind. We hope that in a small way we can get that message to reside in the rest of the world.”
The congratulatory message sent by actor Ken Watanabe stated: “It was a great pleasure to work with you, a person whom I respect and admire. As always, I look forward to seeing your wonderful films in the future.”
Eastwood visited Japan in 1952 to do a promotion for the television series, “Rawhide” at the invitation of Kotobukiya (now Suntory).
Eastwood returned to Japan for the filming of two movies: “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.” There he met Kiyoshi Endo, Chairman of the Survivors of Iwo Jima, and Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo.
In November 2006, the world premier for “Letters from Iwo Jima” was at Nippon Budōkan. “Letters from Iwo Jima” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.