On 26th May 2009, H.E. Ambassador Ebihara bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays upon Mr Patrick Walter Stratford for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of aikido in the UK. The bestowal took place at the Ambassador��s residence.
Since 1960, when Mr. Stratford founded and became the president of the Aikedo Union England (AUE) in Coventry, the AUE has provided aikido instruction to many people throughout the UK, both men and women, young and old. Among the highlights of the AUE achievements was the performance in the presence of Crown Prince Naruhito and the Prince of Wales in May 2001 on the occasion of the JAPAN 2001 festival. The AUE also served as a focal point for interaction with the Japanese aikido community.
In his speech, Ambassador Ebihara stated that ��aikido is not merely a sport but part of a Japanese tradition which attaches great importance to spiritual values��Mr. Stratford��s promotion of aikido in the UK has contributed greatly to the understanding of traditional Japanese culture. ��
Upon receiving his decoration, Mr Stratford stated that it was a great honour to receive the decoration and extended his deep gratitude to Mr Norio Tao and Mr. Shigeho Tanaka of Meiji Jingu Shiseikan Dojo, both Japanese masters of aikido.