Emeritus Professor Yoshio Sugimoto has been awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by His Majesty Naruhito, the Emperor of Japan. It was presented by Melbourne Consul-General Junji Shimada on 7 October 2022 in a ceremony at his official residence to celebrate the conferral.
The Order recognises his significant contribution to academic exchange between Japan and Australia. Professor Sugimoto came to Australia in 1973 and spent more than three decades teaching at La Trobe University. He was the first director of the Japanese Studies Centre at Monash University, which was then Melbourne’s inter-university institution. He established his own Melbourne-based publishing company, the Trans Pacific Press, to disseminate social science research in Japan to a global readership and counter the dominance of Anglocentric knowledge production.
Professor’s Sugimoto’s 1986 book Images of Japanese Society: A Study of the Structure of Social Realty is acclaimed as a seminal work, signalling a paradigm shift in Japanese studies, and has had a profound impact on researchers in the field to this day. His Introduction to Japanese Society (5th edition, 2021, Cambridge University Press) remains one of the most widely read books on contemporary Japan.
Professor Sugimoto was joined by family and former colleagues for the reception followed by a dinner at the official residence.