The government of Japan has selected Ray A. Moore, professor emeritus of history and Asian languages and civilizations, to be granted the Order of the Rising Sun, a prestigious medal the Japanese government has presented since 1875 to honor a variety of achievements and contributions.

Moore will be presented with the Order’s 3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, in recognition of the academic and intellectual exchange he has fostered through his work with the Associated Kyoto Program and his rigorous studies of East Asian history, culture and language at Amherst. Previous recipients of the Order include former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry and Star Trek actor George Takei.

Moore joined Amherst’s history department in 1965 as the only professor specializing in East Asia. He eventually established the college’s Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Five College Center for East Asian Studies.

Ray A. Moore (right)

In the summer of 1968, Moore took part in a colloquium of professors at Doshisha University, Amherst’s Japanese sister college, where Moore suggested a junior-year study abroad program. Thus the Associated Kyoto Program was born, approved of in 1971 and established in 1972. Originally associating with only five colleges, the program is now sponsored by 15 American institutions that, together, have sent 1,400 American students to study in Japan. The program also grants fellowships to American and Japanese faculty members seeking to teach or conduct research abroad.

In 2002 Moore helped establish Yūshien (“Garden of Friendship”), the traditional Japanese-style garden at Amherst, between Holden Theater and Webster Hall. The garden is a serene, contemplative space that celebrates the relationship between Amherst and Doshisha. In 2004 the Journal of Japanese Gardening ranked Yūshien as one of the top Japanese gardens in the country.

Moore is an expert in postwar Japanese history, specializing in the Japanese constitution. His publications include The Birth of Japan’s Postwar Constitution and Partners for Democracy: Creating the New Japanese State Under MacArthur. Moore retired from teaching at Amherst in 2004.