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Japanese Awards & Accolades

Decorated For Sincere Contributions To Friendship

On the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the establishing of friendly diplomatic relations between Serbia and Japan, Japanese Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Takahiko Katsumata presented awards for outstanding achievements to prominent individuals, institutions and associations in Serbia that have contributed to the strengthening of cooperation and good relations between our two countries

Professor Ljiljana Marković, Ph.D., was awarded the special ’Order of the Rising Sun – Gold Rays with Rosette’ in recognition of her contribution to promoting and deepening cooperation between Japan and Serbia throughout her long career, with a special emphasis on improving and advancing Japanese studies and the study of the Japanese language in Serbia.

Despite our world’s history having been marked by many conflicts and wars, Serbia has always endeavoured to maintain good relations with its neighbours and other countries around the world, and with one of them, Japan, it continues to deepen cooperation that was first established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Thanks to carefully nurtured contacts, and the fact that we haven’t allowed ourselves to be separated by distance and some historical events, we last year celebrated 140 years of Serbian-Japanese friendship.

This occasion prompted Japanese Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Takahiko Katsumata to present awards for exceptional achievements. Awards for contributing to the strengthening of the existing friendship between the two countries were presented to the Japanese Business Alliance in Serbia (JBAS), Vršac-based Serbian-Japanese Friendship Association “Hanami”, basketball coach Marina Maljković and the team that has maintained the famous “Japanese” yellow buses that Japan donated to public transport company GSP Beograd almost two decades ago.


Speaking after the presenting of awards at the Japanese Ambassadorial Residence in Belgrade’s Senjak neighbourhood, Ambassador Katsumata said that the governments of Serbia and Japan had decided to commemorate 2022 as the 140th anniversary of friendship between Japan and Serbia in an effort to further deepen their already friendly relations.

“This year represents a significant turning point for our countries, which will be of great importance to further strengthening the ties that unite us,” said Ambassador Katsumata.

Adrijana Barši, one of the recipients of the award for exceptional achievements and the president of the “Hanami” Serbian-Japanese Friendship Association, said that Hanami has been promoting Japan in Serbia for years, but also Serbia in Japan, emphasising that the association will continue to do so.

“The association has the mission to promote the culture of Japan and make it accessible to all citizens of Serbia. We try to bring the culture of Japan closer to both the youngest and connoisseurs of that culture through various events,” explained Barši.

Other recipients of the award also thanked the Japanese ambassador.

The same event saw the ambassador present five acknowledgements for 2022 that recognise commitments and contributions to promoting Japanese culture and improving friendly relations between Serbia and Japan. The awards were presented to the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Museum of the Yugoslav Cinematheque Film Archives, the Serbian-Japanese Association “Srce Srema” [Heart of Srem], the “Šabac Fudimi” Friendship Club and the Niš-based Taka Association.

“I believe that this year, together with you, we succeeded in properly commemorating and celebrating 140 years of friendship between our two peoples. I’m certain that our relations are now even stronger. I congratulate each of you and thank you for your contribution,” said Ambassador Katsumata.


A slightly different acknowledgement, the Spring Imperial Decoration, went to Belgrader professor Ljiljana Marković, Ph.D., who found herself included on a select list. The Government of Japan decreed that she be awarded a significant accolade, one that’s awarded to both Japanese and foreign citizens for their outstanding contributions to establishing and improving friendly relations with Japan. Professor Marković was awarded the ‘Order of the Rising Sun – Gold Rays with Rosette’ by the Government of Japan for having contributed, throughout her long career, to promoting and deepening cooperation between Japan and Serbia, with a special emphasis on improving Japanese culture studies and studies of the Japanese language in Serbia. She graduated from the Faculty of Economic and Political Sciences and the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Cambridge, where she later earned her master’s degree, before receiving her doctorate from Tokyo’s Chuo University.

This isn’t the first accolade she has received, with the Government of Japan having already presented her with the Award of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan (Gaimu Daijin Sho) back in 2010 for her special contribution to developing Japanology as a scientific discipline and promoting cultural ties between Japan and Serbia.

A reception to mark the occasion of the awarding of the Order of the Rising Sun – Gold Rays with Rosette, which Marković received as a foreign citizen for her exceptional contribution to establishing and improving friendly relations with Japan, was held last October at the Japanese ambassadorial residence.


The Order of the Rising Sun is a Japanese order that was established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji and represented the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese government. The badge features rays of sunlight emanating from the rising sun, symbolising energy as powerful as the rising sun and the concept of the “rising sun”, with Japan famously nicknamed the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Order of the Rising Sun is awarded for outstanding services to the state in various fields, excluding military service.

Until 2003, the Order of the Rising Sun held the same rank as the Order of the Precious Crown, with the Order of the Rising Sun being awarded only to men and the Order of the Precious Crown exclusively for women. The Order of the Sacred Treasure was classed as an order of slightly lower rank than the Order of the Rising Sun and the Order of the Precious Crown. As of 2003, the Order of the Rising Sun has been awarded not only to men, but also to women, while the Order of the Precious Crown has become a special order awarded only to members of the Imperial Family in Japan and female members of foreign royal families, and only when that’s deemed especially essential for diplomatic ceremonies. The Order of the Rising Sun is awarded with an emphasis on achievements within the state, while the Order of the Sacred Treasure places an emphasis on long-term public service.

Despite being the third highest-ranked decoration awarded by the Japanese government, it is generally the highest decoration that’s ordinarily awarded. Japan’s highest order, the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, is reserved for heads of state or royalty, while the second highest order, the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, is generally reserved for politicians.

Apart from professor Marković, the Order of the Rising Sun has to date been awarded to celebrated footballer Dragan Stojković ’Piksi’, current coach of the Serbian national football team, Ivan Mrkić, former Serbian foreign minister and ambassador to Japan… The three of them have all contributed to strengthening ties between Serbia and Japan through their personal commitment.