His Majesty Hiro-nomiya Naruhito, the Emperor of Japan, has awarded Theogene Uwayo ‘the order of the rising sun Gold and silver ray medal’.
This appreciation award is given to people/organizations for lifetime achievement and a commitment to excellence through contributing to mutual understanding and friendship with the people of Japan through a Karate game.
Uwayo currently serving as the president of the Karate federation in Rwanda (FERWAKA) was handed his rising sun Gold and silver ray medal by the Japanese ambassador in Rwanda, Masahiro Imai at the Japanese embassy residence in Kigali today.
Uwayo has headed FERWAKA for twelve years since FERWAKA was established in the country – 2008.
In Rwanda, the Karate game is becoming popular with the number of Karate players standing at 3000 from less than 100 in 1996.
“For twelve years in service, I have tried to promote the Karate game by bringing six senior Karate coaches from Japan to train our students. We established our federation that competes worldwide and it’s running well. I am happy about the development. I hope the game will continue to flourish,” Uwayo said.
Uwayo added that accessibility of senior Karate coaches is difficult and when they accepted to come to Rwanda, it was a sign of respect and recognition for the country.
“Even in Japan, some of their students rarely access these Karate senior coaches recognized internationally. Bringing them to Rwanda is something important as far as Karate training is concerned, they have immersive skills,” Uwayo said.
He added that the rising sun Gold and silver ray award means a commitment to achieve in Karate games and promoting a mutual relationship between two countries.
The Order of the Rising Sun or Kyokujitsu-shō in Japanese is an award that was established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji.
The award became the national decoration awarded by the Japanese government on 10 April 1875 through a decree of the council of State.
The award is made in the form of a badge, with features of rays of sunlight from the rising sun, symbolizing energy as powerful as the rising sun.
The features of the order of the rising sun gold and silver medal are similar to the “rising sun” concept of Japan, meaning “Land of the Rising Sun”.
This award (The Order of the Rising Sun or Kyokujitsu-shō) is also awarded to people who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture advancements in their field, development in welfare, or preservation of the environment.
The Order of the Rising Sun award is the third-highest bestowed by the Japanese government.
It (Order of the Rising Sun gold and silver award) follows the second award known as the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, reserved for the politicians, and the first award dubbed the Order of the Chrysanthemum, reserved for the Heads of State or Roya family.
“This is a memorable and important moment for all of us. The medalist is the first president of FERWAKA, who has contributed to his country great, but also uniting his country and Japan through the Karate game,” Ambassador Masahiro said.
Amb. Masahiro said that the medalist has worked hard to promote karate with sometimes using his money and time to bring young people into karate games.
“He has strong leadership skills that enable him to accelerate the relationship of two countries. But also promoting karate skills,” Amb. Masahiro said.
He added that the Japanese embassy will continue to work with FERWAKA in promoting the Karate game in Rwanda.
The event to give Uwayo his order of the rising sun Gold and silver ray medal was graced by Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju, Minister of Sports, and Shema Didier, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sports.
“Karate is not only a sport discipline, but a cultural pride between our people which we believe more ties can be built for the future,” Munyangaju said.
Munyangaju said that Rwanda and Japan have been cooperating in various sectors including infrastructure, development, technical assistance, energy and more will continue to be thought about in promoting sports, mostly karate.