2020 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals (UK)


Sir Michael Rake

The Government of Japan has decided to confer The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun on Sir Michael Rake for his significant contribution to strengthening the economic and ICT relationship between Japan and the United Kingdom.

As Chairman of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Sir Michael worked closely with Japan’s business community and senior government officials, and through his participation at various international events hosted by the Japanese government made a significant contribution to promoting and strengthening Japan-UK and Japan-EU economic relations. In October 2013 he visited Japan and met with the Japan Business Federation Chairman, Mr Hiromasa Yonekura, to discuss strengthening the Japan-UK economic relationship. During this visit he also gave a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, explaining the importance of Japanese investment in the UK and the benefits of economic agreements, and called for an early conclusion of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). He has also contributed to deepening the understanding of Japan in the UK, and he has played a significant role in promoting an image of Japan, a country that has enjoyed a cooperative relationship and shared values with the UK for a long time, as an important partner for the future in the UK. Sir Michael also played a role in the conclusion of the Japan-EU EPA by including policy recommendations to the EU in the 2013 CBI report demanding that they conclude this agreement promptly, and by proactively lobbying the European Commission.

As Chairman of BT Group, Sir Michael also worked closely with Japanese business and government, taking part in many international events that Japan hosted, and helping to further strengthen Japan-UK cooperation in the field of ICT. In 2009, Sir Michael attended the World ICT Summit in Tokyo as keynote speaker, introducing the UK’s latest efforts towards next-generation communications and expressing his hopes for Japan and its world-leading broadband. In 2010, he gave a presentation about international internet trends and future expectations at the Japan Business Federation’s ICT Committee meeting, and had dialogue with top Japanese companies, helping to further develop Japan-UK ICT cooperation. Sir Michael has also played a role in cooperation between Japan and the UK ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, sharing his knowledge of cybersecurity measures during the London Olympics through meetings with Japan’s ministers, and sending high level BT representation to the 2016 G7 ICT Multi-Stakeholders’ Conference at the G7 ICT Ministers’ Meeting in Takamatsu, Kagawa.

The BT Group’s activities in Japan date back to 1985, providing a wide variety of services across Japan as a global network service provider, offering support to multinational companies and forming data centres domestically in Japan. BT Group have also provided positive support to globalizing Japanese companies wishing to enter the UK market.

Dr Rupert Faulkner

The Government of Japan has decided to confer The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays on Dr Rupert Faulkner for his outstanding contribution to introducing Japanese culture and promoting the understanding of Japan in the United Kingdom.
After graduating from Cambridge University in 1977 with a degree in Japanese Studies, Dr Faulkner undertook seven years of research into the history of Japanese ceramics, three of which he spent in the Archaeology Department of Nagoya University. In 1984 he took up the post of Curator of Japanese art at one of the UK's leading museums, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). He has remained at the V&A ever since, having gone on to become Senior Curator of Japanese Art, and is responsible for the care and maintenance of and research into the museum’s Japanese collection.

The V&A’s holdings of Japanese art are one of the most extensive in the UK, and one of the most important in the world. Although the museum exhibited Japanese objects from its inception, for most of its history there was no one space solely dedicated to Japan. On his arrival at the V&A, Dr Faulkner became immediately involved in the setting up of the UK's first permanent, large-scale gallery of Japanese art, the Toshiba Gallery, which opened in 1986. He was subsequently an important contributor to the re-organisation of the V&A’s top floor Ceramics Galleries, for which he utilised his expertise in Japanese ceramics. These opened in two phases in 2009 and 2010. More recently, as Lead Curator, he oversaw the renewal of the Toshiba Gallery, which opened in its new guise in November 2015. The gallery was modernised and redisplayed, with an emphasis being placed on combining historical and contemporary objects to highlight the continuity between past and present, and on showing the importance of Japan as a leading global centre of innovation in art, craft and design.
Over the years, Dr Faulkner has cultivated and maintained connections with many experts in Japan, whose support and cooperation have helped the V&A become a key player in the promotion of Japanese culture in the UK. Of particular note was Japanese Studio Crafts: Tradition and the Avant-garde (1995), a ground-breaking exhibition that introduced a hitherto little known subject to a non-Japanese audience. Six years later the V&A staged over 20 events as part of Japan 2001, a UK-wide cultural festival which had the support of both the Japanese and British Governments and had Japan’s Crown Prince and Britain’s Prince Charles as joint patrons. Dr Faulkner then curated a display focusing on the Japanese Mingei (Folk Craft) movement constituting the final part of the V&A’s major International Arts and Crafts exhibition (2005). This travelled to the US and then to Japan. Another of his Japan-related initiatives was Kitty and the Bulldog (2012), which explored Lolita fashion and its links with British culture, from Alice in Wonderland through to Punk. In Search of Forgotten Colours (2018) looked at the achievements of the late Sachio Yoshioka in the field of natural dyeing and the reinvention of historical colours. A display of dyed textile and paper samples donated by Mr Yoshioka in the Toshiba Gallery was accompanied by a series of short films created in collaboration with NHK Enterprises using cutting-edge 8K video technology. The presentation of 8K video at the V&A was a first in a UK museum, while the 4K versions of the films on the V&A’s YouTube channel have proved extremely successful.
One of Dr Faulkner’s most outstanding achievements was as joint leader and co-manager of an Anglo-Japanese research and conservation project (2003-2011) focusing on the Mazarin Chest, a spectacular piece of Japanese lacquerware made for export to Europe in the first half of the 17th century. A key outcome of the project was to successfully pioneer an approach to conserving objects made using urushi (lacquer) that combined western conservation priorities with Japanese preference for the use of traditional materials. Between 2004 and 2008 the chest was cleaned, stabilised, and returned as far as ethically acceptable to its original magnificent appearance. This enabled it to travel in 2008-2009 to the Kyoto National Museum, the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, attracting altogether almost 200,000 visitors. The chest now enjoys pride of place in V&A’s Toshiba Gallery, where it is accompanied by a Gallery Interactive presenting the fruits of this important research and conservation initiative.
As a specialist in Japanese ceramics, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and modern Japanese craft and design, areas in which Dr Faulkner has developed exceptional knowledge and understanding, his research output and collecting activities have been considerable. It has included assembling one of the most important public collections of Japanese studio crafts outside Japan, the publication of books, essays and articles, and participation in academic conferences and symposiums in the UK, Japan and elsewhere. He is respected and trusted by many Japanese specialists, including craft practitioners such as the Living National Treasures Kazumi Murose (maki-eand Kunihiko Moriguchi (yūzen dyeing), with both of whom he has had a sustained relationship for many years. He has also acted as a judge for numerous craft competitions, bringing to a sometimes all Japanese judging panel an alternative perspective on Japanese craft and design. Along with contributing to the promotion of a deeper understanding of Japanese culture in the UK, Dr Faulkner has also used his time at the V&A to encourage and facilitate the establishment of one to one relationships between British and Japanese artists, conservators, craftspeople, curators, researchers, scholars and students.