Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation

Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation
Fran Ota, Professor Norio Ota, Consul-General Yasunori Nakayama, Chizuko Nakayama

Awarded to York University Professor Norio Ota

by Bev Ohashi, President of NEB

Norio Ota has been involved in university education focusing on Japanese Language and Culture instruction in Canada, Japan, United States, Australia, and Vietnam. In promoting post-secondary education through exchange programs, partnerships have been established with Meiji University, Dokkyo University, Keio University, Waseda University, Nagoya University and Hitotsubashi University. Furthermore, his work extended to supporting the Japanese Heritage Language Program and creating the Cross Cultural Communication Through Japanese with the former North York Board of Education.

The special ceremony in celebrating the commendation was held at the official residence of the Consul-General of Japan in Toronto on September 18, 2015. The Consul-General Yasunori Nakayama stated, “Professor Ota has devoted his career to making the Japanese language more accessible to Canadian university students. Among the innovations he brought to Japanese language education at York University is the method he describes as the communicative empathic approach.”

Ota has also spearheaded the development of on-line courses, interactive self-study materials and distance education courses through video-conferencing. All textbooks were abolished and replaced by materials developed by Professor Ota. The Japanese program at York University is the only one that offers all these resources free in an open learning environment. He receives emails from individuals around the world who have accessed these courses that wish to learn Japanese. Log in at http://buna.yorku.ca.

Recently, Norio Ota introduced the Honours Minor Degree Program at York University that incorporates history and experience of Japanese Canadians into the curriculum. Instructor Cary Takagaki is now teaching “The Japanese Immigration Experience in Canada” Course.

Congratulations to Ota Sensei!


  1. kenichi YoshiokaOctober 26, 2015

    Congragulations. Prof. Ota
    長い年月と不断の努力の結晶である授賞をおめでとうございます。身体を大事にしながら邁進してください!Fran san にもよろしくお伝えください!

  2. Lorraine FortuneOctober 27, 2015

    Professor Ota, what a great honor! You certainly have used your talents to the fullest. You are brilliant and still so great at being good and kind. We are so privileged to know you and call you our friend.
    Congratulations, from your friends, Lorraine & Jim

  3. 太田徳夫March 11, 2016


  4. Norio OtaMarch 11, 2016

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Lorraine and Jim.
    We have known each other for over 45 years – life long friends. I consider us ‘family’.
    I am pleased to be able to share this happy occasion with both of you, whom I respect and appreciate the most. My teaching career began at the language school for Catholic foreign missionaries in Roppongi, where you studied Japanese and your life and our life also started. I appreciate this commendation particularly because I had so many fine students in various countries. Cheers.

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