On November 3rd, 2016, the Government of Japan announced that Mr. Vytautas Dumčius, the Headmaster of Klaipėda Martynas Mažvydas progymnasium, was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for his contribution to the development of Japanese language education and Japanese studies in Lithuania, and mutual understanding between Japan and Lithuania.
Mr. Vytautas Dumčius had been teaching Japanese language at the Oriental Centre of Klaipėda University for five years and is the author of several articles about Japanese language studies. One of his articles, published in 2000, which presented a systematic way how to write Japanese words in Lithuanian language without changing the pronunciation of Japanese words, has contributed greatly to the Japanese popularization in Lithuania. Furthermore, Mr. Dumčius has also published articles about Japanese calligraphy in Lithuanian “Calligraphy notebooks” magazine, which included introduction for beginners and practical exercises, thus presenting the beauty of Japanese calligraphy in Lithuania. Moreover, Mr. Dumčius has been a member of evaluation commission at the Japanese language contests organized by Vilnius University and Vytautas Magnus University.
Mr. Vytautas Dumčius has translated „Hyakunin Isshu“ (Poems of 100 poets) from Japanese to Lithuanian language, as well as many other tanka and haiku poems and helped to spread the charm of Japanese haiku in Lithuania. Furthermore, Mr. Dumčius played an important role in promoting haiku among Lithuanians – he helped to organize National haiku contests, consequently increasing the community of haiku lovers in the country.
Mr. Dumčius has been spreading the information about Klaipėda and Kuji sister cities relations and Japanese culture by attending TV and Radio broadcasts. Mr. Dumčius had been teaching about Japanese culture, literature and history at the Oriental Centre of Klaipėda University for 19 years, as well as wrote various articles related to the culture of Japan. Moreover, he has been assisting Japanese scholars during their visits and research in Lithuania, thus contributing to the academic cooperation between Japan and Lithuania. Furthermore, Mr. Dumčius has been providing help and support to various Japan related events in the entire country, by sharing advice, making presentations or organizing a creational workshops about Japanese culture. What is more, soon after the Great East Japan earthquake, Mr. Dumčius organized a support campaign in the schools of Klaipėda, where school children folded thousands of paper cranes, which were later hanged on sakura trees in Klaipėda. Later Mr. Dumčius organized a photography exhibition in Klaipėda dedicated to the Great East Japan earthquake, which introduced the process how the affected areas were being restored.
Source: press release by the embassy of Japan in Lithuania