The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Mr. Shuji Yagi (Shuho Bon Yagi)



Achievements as a pioneer in Japanese restaurant management in New York

(1) After starting a vegetable wholesale business to supply Japanese restaurants in NY in 1976, he always found a way to get ahead of the times and has opened various specialty Japanese restaurants such as sushi, sake, soba noodles, and shabu-shabu one after the other. He has opened 16 stores as of 2018. He has also led the new Japanese food market in NY and has contributed significantly to its expansion.
(2) The fact that he has shared his Japanese cooking expertise and Japanese food culture knowledge to American society without any indifference between Japanese and non-Japanese is recognized as a further deepening of mutual understanding between Japan and the US. In recognition of these achievements, in 2017 he was awarded the 11th Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food.

Achievements related to social contribution in the field of Japanese food

(1) He has been a board member of The Gohan Society, a non-profit organization that promotes Japanese food culture in NY through an exchange program of chefs between Japan and the US, since it was founded in 2006. He has also contributed significantly to foster mutual understanding between Japan and the US through food culture exchanges and promoting Japanese cuisine and food culture in the US.
(2) In addition, since the establishment of the JRO (Non-Profit Organization to Promote Japanese restaurants abroad) NY branch in 2008, he has been a driving force in the branch, and is now the branch's caretaker (the branch head is vacant) from the standpoint of planning and implementation of various businesses. He also plays a central role in establishing a Japanese restaurant association to solve common problems of Japanese restaurants.

Achievements related to contributions to Japanese communities and local communities

(1) Not only has he contributed to the industry of Japanese food, he also serves as a director of the Japanese American Association of New York(JAA) and is actively engaged in social contribution to the Japanese American society in NY. In particular, when the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred, he led fundraising activities throughout the Japanese restaurant community and donated through the United Nations and JAA.
(2) Also, in cooperation with Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI), every November since 1998, one of his restaurants holds a shabu-shabu lunch free of charge for the elderly in order to show respect for those within the Japanese American community, which is greatly appreciated.
(3) The company philosophy is to contribute to the local community. Because of this, since 1990, a Japanese festival has been held in Manhattan East Village where the company is located. The festival, enlivened as "Japan Town", creates a lively atmosphere that lets people "Enjoy Japan without Airfare". In addition, he has deepened friendships with local residents by making donations to the Christmas charity hosted by the district police station for more than 20 years. As a role model for young entrepreneurs, he is known as "an ambassador for Japanese cuisine in the East Village".

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