Landscape architect Takeo Uesugi to be awarded Japan’s medal

Medal Uesugi Takeo

(April 29, 2010)  The Government of Japan announces the recipients of its Spring 2010 Decorations.  Dr. Takeo Uesugi of West Covina, Professor Emeritus of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, will be awarded The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Ray with Neck Ribbon.

Dr. Takeo Uesugi was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1940 to a family tied to the tradition of Japanese gardeners and landscapes for generations. He is 70 years old currently. He studied landscape architecture at University of Osaka Prefecture under the tutelage of Professor Tadashi Kubo.

He continued his education in graduate studies at Kyoto University when he was invited to University of Osaka Prefecture as a lecturer to Dr. Kubo’s studio where he developed relationships with prestigious American landscape architects.

This opportunity helped him realize that the beauty of traditional Japanese gardens should be shown around the world.

After earning a master’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of California at Berkley, Dr. Uesugi returned to Japan in order to engage in designing the landscape for the Japan Pavilion at the Osaka Expo held in 1970 and started to teach in the Department of Forestry at Kyoto University as a lecturer.

In order to further develop the research and teaching of landscape design and Japanese garden, Dr. Uesugi came to America as an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at College of Environmental Design, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

To this day, with continued desire to introduce Japanese gardens to the world, Dr. Uesugi has devoted his time to the practice, research and design of numerous Japanese gardens across the U.S. with the assistance of fellow artisans.

The fundamental principle of his philosophy toward Japanese gardens is that understanding of a garden is an essential part of life. By recognizing the unique flavors of the Japanese garden and blending these ideas with the regional climate and lifestyle of the U.S., Dr. Uesugi hopes to create a unique experience for those who are able to appreciate the garden’s beauty.

Some of his prominent works include the James Irvine Japanese Garden at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, and the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, San Diego.

In recognition of his contributions within the field of landscape architecture, Dr. Uesugi received the National Landscape Award, presented by the former First Lady Nancy Reagan, in 1981, followed by several other awards. As his Japanese-themed gardens continued to garner recognition for devotion to the development of theory, design, and construction technology, he was honored to receive the Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2001.

In order to preserve the beauty of Japanese gardens for future generations, Dr. Uesugi has been committed to developing and mentoring the young leaders of tomorrow.

He worked to establish a student exchange program between California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and Kyushu Institute of Design (now Kyushu University) in 1992, which was recognized by his university, which honored him with the Award of Excellence.

In addition to his contribution to the exchange program, Dr. Uesugi also established a course about Asian Gardens with an emphasis on Japanese gardens at Cal Poly Pomona in 1990.

During his tenure at Cal Poly, he has taught over one thousand students with many of those graduates having become prominent landscape architects throughout the U.S. This has ensured that students of Dr. Uesugi’s philosophy have a strong foundation in design and will be able to carry on the tradition of Japanese gardens well into the future.

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