On April 29, 2017, the Government of Japan announced that Mr. Kęstutis Ptakauskas (59 years old) was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays for his contribution in introducing and promoting Japanese culture through bonsai in Lithuania. Mr K3stutis Ptakauskas is the director of Public Organization “Bonsai studio” and the President of Lithuanian Bonsai Association.
Meritorious Service for Japan:
- Achievements in promoting Japanese culture through bonsai in Lithuania.
Mr. Ptakauskas has established a company to organize Japanese culture events and has been organizing bonsai and suiseki exhibitions. Recently, Mr. Ptakauskas organized large scale international events, such as European Bonsai and Suiseki congress (2015, Vilnius) as well as World Bonsai Exhibition (2016, Alytus), where various Japanese culture related events took place at the same time. In this way Mr. Ptakauskas greatly contributed to spreading Japanese culture not only in Lithuania, but also worldwide. In 2016 Mr. Ptakauskas published a book “Morning dew garden”, in which he introduced Japanese culture such as Zen gardens, tea ceremony, traditions, the art and aesthetics of bonsai, etc.
- Achievements in setting up Japanese gardens in Lithuania.
In 2002 Mr Ptakauskas has established a “Morning Dew garden” at his house, which was the very first Japanese garden in Lithuania. In 2006 he opened a Bonsai museum there and helped to establish 3 Japanese gardens in other places in Lithuania, and also abroad. In such way he is spreading the charm of Japanese gardens both in Lithuania and other countries. In addition, Mr. Ptakauskas has been devoting himself in planting sakura trees. For instance, he contributed to planting sakura trees in Chiune Sugihara sakura park – thus he is working hard to promote the understanding of Japan.
- Achievement in building friendly relations between Japan and Lithuania.
In 2015 Mr. Ptakauskas has become the member of Council of Alytus city. He has been actively promoting efforts to strengthen relationship with Japan by inviting business representatives from Japan and introducing the industry and sightseeing places of Alytus city. Local government officials support his friendly exchange activities with Japan. In September 2016 an official delegation from Hiratsuka city (Kanagawa pref.) visited Alytus city and has started friendship relations aiming at the sister city relationship.