THE MIKE MANSFIELD AWARDS
The "Mike Mansfield Awards" were established in December 1985 by the Executive Committee of The Japan-America Society of Georgia in honor of former Ambassador Mansfield's outstanding and steadfast efforts in fostering goodwill between Japan and the United States. The awards are presented to outstanding Americans and Japanese who have continuously contributed their efforts toward promoting better understanding of cultural and economic issues between the peoples of the United States and Japan. Recipients of the awards are honored at The Japan-America Society of Georgia's annual dinner each year.
Mike Mansfield was born on March 16, 1903 in Great Falls, Montana. He left home at the age of 14, without completing the eighth grade, to join the U.S. Navy for the duration of World War I. After the war he served for a year in the U.S. army and two years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
In 1922 he returned to Montana to work in the mines until 1930. He was admitted to Montana School of Mines by examination, and later to Montana State University (now the University of Montana), where he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees. From 1933 to 1943, he was Professor of Latin American and Far Eastern History at Montana State.
Mike Mansfield was first elected to the United States Congress in 1942 as a Representative from the State of Montana. He was elected to the United States Senate from Montana in 1952, and re-elected in 1958, 1964 and 1970. He was elected Senate Majority Leader in 1961 and served in this capacity until his retirement from the Senate in 1977 -- longer than any other Majority Leader in the history of the U.S. Senate.
Throughout his career, Mr. Mansfield accepted a number of foreign affairs assignments to the U.N., West Berlin, Southeast Asia, and the People's Republic of China at the request of four presidents. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed him the 22nd Ambassador to Japan; President Ronald Reagan subsequently renewed the appointment. When he retired in 1988, he had served longer than any previous American Ambassador to Japan.
Among his many awards, Mr. Mansfield received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award, the nation's highest non-military honor from President Reagan and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from Japanese Prime Minister Takeshita.