Rafu Staff Report
Former LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara received one of the Japanese government’s Fall 2015 Decorations in a ceremony on Dec. 10 at Consul General Harry Horinouchi’s official residence in L.A.’s Hancock Park district.
About 50 people, including family members, friends and Japanese American community representatives, were on hand as Horinouchi presented Hara with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for promoting the status of the Japanese American community as well as friendly U.S.-Japan relations.
Hara, a Long Beach-born Sansei, joined the LAPD in 1980 in rose steadily through the ranks. In 2008, he became the department’s first Asian American deputy chief, a position he held until his retirement last March. He furthered dialogue between Asian American communities and the LAPD, supported Japanese American community events, and aided investigation requests from law enforcement agencies in Japan.
He became a board member of the Japan-America Society of Southern California in 2010 and began a two-year term as chairman in 2013. After the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck northeastern Japan in 2011, he collected relief funds and established an exchange program giving children living in Fukushima orphanages an opportunity to visit Los Angeles.
Hara has served as president of the Nisei Week Foundation, a board member of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, and Go For Broke National Education Center.
In his acceptance speech, Hara stressed the importance of people-to-people connections and community ties in his work. He said that as deputy chief, his goal was to serve all the citizens of Los Angeles, and as an individual, he also did everything he could for his community.
Hara added that without the support of the Nikkei community, he could not have achieved his goals, and gave special thanks to his wife, Gayle, son, Mark, daughter, Kimberly, and the rest of his family.
The past year has been a challenging one for Hara. He suffered a life-threatening stroke in February and spent months recuperating. He then assumed the chairmanship of Nisei Week for the second time (the first time was in 2009) and successfully oversaw the festival’s 75th anniversary celebration, which featured a new Nebuta float from Aomori.
Douglas Erber, president of the Japan America Society of Southern California, praised Hara for his commitment to family, friends, the LAPD and the community, for his leadership as a volunteer with various organizations dedicated to preserving and promoting Japanese and Japanese American culture and traditions, and for strengthening ties between the U.S. and Japan.
The formal program was followed by a group photo and a reception.