Dr. Satoru Izutsu, recently retired vice dean and director of admissions for the University of Hawai‘i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, was presented The Order of the Rising Sun, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, by the Government of Japan. Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito made the presentation to Izutsu on Jan 18 at his official residence in Nu‘uanu.
For nearly 30 years, Dr. Izutsu oversaw the UH-Chubu Program, a partnership between the University of Hawai‘i and later the School of Medicine and Okinawa’s Chubu Hospital. Last November, the program celebrated its 50th anniversary in Okinawa.
The UH-Chubu Program was started in 1967 by the U.S. Civil Administration Ryukyus, which governed Okinawa in the aftermath of the Battle of Okinawa until Okinawa was reverted back to Japanese governance in 1972. The island was sorely in need of physicians to help care for the Okinawan citizens.
“Today there are over 130 staff physicians at the 500-bed Chubu Hospital, of which 70 percent are graduates of the UH-Chubu program,” said Consul General Ito. The program is recognized as one of the most successful in all of Japan.
The presentation was attended by JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges, M.D., who shared with the audience a long list of Dr. Izutsu’s service to the University of Hawai‘i, the medical school and the community in general.
“Just as the ‘Order of the Rising Sun’ signifies one with energy as powerful as the rising sun, Dr. Izu-
tsu has given much to Hawai‘i, the University of Hawai‘i and the John A. Burns School of Medicine through his tireless service,” Dean Hedges said. “I can think of no other individual who has so ably met the expectations for this award.”
A kampai toast was offered by former University of Hawai‘i president Dr. Fujio Matsuda. Izutsu and Matsuda are both dedicated Urasenke tea practitioners.
“I am grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to have been a part of this adventure,” the 89-year-old Izutsu told the gathering of relatives, friends and colleagues. He added, “On a personal note, I am sure that my deceased immigrant parents from Fukuoka would feel humbled by this recognition of their last child, the seventh in the family.”
Dr. Izutsu was nominated for the award by the Okinawa Prefectural Government.