Genshitsu SEN Receives France's
Legion of Honour Commander Distinction

On January 20, 2020, Genshitsu SEN was awarded the Commandeur (Commander) distinction in the French national Légion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour). He had previously, in 1998, during the presidency of Jacque Chirac, been awarded the Officier (Officer) distinction, and this time's Commandeur distinction owed to the French government's high evaluation of his continuous efforts to promote cultural understanding between Japan and France since then.

In 1976, during his headship of Urasenke as Iemoto Soshitsu SEN XV, Genshitsu SEN established the Urasenke Paris Branch, and began tackling the task of developing human resources and bases in France. He donated such tea houses and tea rooms as the Seifuan, Kojitsuan, and Seiyuan, to museum gardens in the suburbs of Paris, and such places. Since he became UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2012, he has further added effort to his cultural exchange activities based on his philosophy of "Peacefulness through a bowl of tea." These activities have included his presentation of tea dedication ceremonies (kencha-shiki) at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris.

The ceremony at which he was decorated with this time's distinction took place at the official residence of Ambassador Laurent Pic of the Embassy of France in Japan, located in Minami Azabu, Tokyo. Amid an attendance of approximately 90, including notable figures from various fields, Ambassador Pic presented him with the award. Genshitsu SEN stated in his acceptance speech that he had thus far been involved in exchange with France for sixty years, and wanted to keep up his efforts to promote cultural exchange between France and Japan from now on as well.