Japanese government honours Mr Paul Norbury

The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, was bestowed on Mr Paul Henri Norbury on 12 December 2011. The presentation was made by Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi at his residence in the presence of Mr Norbury's family, friends and distinguished guests, including many published authors.

Mr Norbury has dedicated most of his life to the promotion and understanding of Japanese culture. Although he initially qualified and worked as a Secondary school teacher, Mr Norbury went on to work in journalism, and in 1970 he became head of the publications department of the London advertising company David Williams & Ketchum (DWK). During his time there Mr Norbury created and published Tsuru, a new periodical for Japan Airlines. This magazine was issued from June 1971 to January 1975 and was distributed to businessmen, academics, opinion leaders and government officials.

Mr Norbury made a point of producing the magazine not only in English but in French, German, Italian and Spanish as well, which contributed to an even wider understanding of Japan. The magazine featured famous professors both from Japan and the UK, such as well-known historian Dr Arnold J. Toynbee, Dr Chie Nakane from Tokyo University and Dr Richard Storry from Oxford University.

On the strength of the success of Tsuru, Mr Norbury became convinced of the importance of making Japan better known and more accessible among British people. He became centrally involved in editing and publishing various other Japan-related materials. These publications were widely recognised for their high quality research on Japan, and greatly contributed to the dissemination of knowledge and the deepening of understanding of Japan in the UK.

Mr Norbury established Paul Norbury Publications in 1972, where approximately 40 titles were published, including Introducing Japan, which was made up of quality articles from Tsuru magazine. While publishing 100 books through Japan Library, Mr Norbury achieved great success with Silver Drum, a biography of the late HIH Princess Chichibu, which was highly acclaimed all over the world.

With this triumph, Mr Norbury started Global Oriental in 1996, which specialises in Japan-related publishing. About 200 titles have been published by Global Oriental, among them being HIH Crown Prince Naruhito's diary of the period when he was studying in the UK, The Thames and I. Mr Norbury's achievement in promoting knowledge about Japan and the quality of his publications have won him considerable standing among intellectuals in the UK.

From 1979 to 1991, Mr Norbury worked as an education consultant for the then-Japan Information Centre at the Embassy of Japan in London. There he organised workshops for British teachers on introducing Japan in the classroom and produced pamphlets for this purpose.

Mr Norbury has also been helping young academics to publish their doctoral theses related to Japan. Thanks to his passion and determination, more people have succeeded in becoming researchers specialising in Japan.

Throughout the past 40 years, Mr Norbury has played a key role in promoting knowledge and an understanding of Japan among British people, and he is still vigorously pursuing this mission with Brill Academic Publishers.