Toshio Terry Handa was conferred the Commendation of the Consul General by Consul General Jun Niimi on May 22.
The commendation is conferred on individuals or organizations promoting mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the United States, in support of the Consulate General’s mission.
Handa was born on Sept. 27, 1942 in Tokyo. After graduating from the School of Commerce, Keio University in 1965, he began his career at ITOCHU Corporation, eventually moving to Pasadena as the corporation’s Aircraft Department manager in Los Angeles. Despite returning once to Japan, he came back to America in 1981 with his family and began his private trading company until his retirement in 2011.
Once his company became successful, Handa started participating in various Japanese American organizations and actively contributing to the community. He has spent over 10 years hosting the Pasadena Seminar, providing lectures on current affairs and a social outlet for Japanese Americans, and has served in key positions in the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California and the Japanese Community Pioneer Center. In addition, Handa has helped provide operational support for the Nikkei Helpline and is now an integral part of the Japanese American community.
With his Japanese pride and love for Japan, Handa has spent many years enlightening the community and disseminating Japanese culture in the Greater Los Angeles area. In order to support the operations of the Nikkei Helpline, the heart and soul of the Japanese American people here, Handa has continued to raise funds through events such as benefit concerts. In addition, the profits raised from hosting the Pasadena Seminar are also donated to the operational costs of the Nikkei Helpline.
During his third year as the president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck and Handa, taking leadership, gathered the Japanese American community and through his efforts was able to raise a total of $560,000 in donations, which was all donated to the disaster area through UNICEF. Handa has also started serving as president of the Japanese Community Pioneer Center, continuing his energetic contributions to the community.
Handa has contributed to a wide variety of organizations, such as the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Orange County Association, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, the Little Tokyo Community Council, the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California, the Beikoku Shodo Kenkyukai, the L.A. Tokyo-kai, the Taisho Club and the Japan America Society of Southern California.