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2022 Mondale Award Winners!

  • 2022-11-19
  • 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Oak Ridge Country Club 700 Oak Ridge Rd, Hopkins, MN 55305

Congratulations to Judith and Gayle Fleming, the 2022 winners of the Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership! The Mondale Award was established in 1997 to recognize outstanding contributions to the relationship between the people of Japan and Minnesota. 

Judith and Gayle share much in common with the first winners of the award, Joan and Walter Mondale:

· A passion for Japan in all its facets, particularly arts and culture

· Commitment to youth

· Continuous, hands-on work with a variety of organizations to further the Japan-Minnesota connection.

Judith and Gayle are active in the Yukimakai Tea Ceremony Association. Judith served as Treasurer for Yukimakai for 10 years. Both Judith and Gayle are active in spring and fall cleaning and in presenting Tea at Como's Tea House each year. Gayle crafted a beautiful Tenchaban table and stools for the group. They host a yearly moon viewing chakai and dinner at their home for Yukimakai members and their guests.

Their cultural interests spread beyond tea ceremony to gardening. Gayle is a long-time volunteer and consultant at the Como Garden and the Normandale Friendship Garden. He and Judith have assisted many members of the Twin Cities community in their efforts to establish Japanese Gardens, and they have hosted many events at their own garden.  In the words of one nominator, “Like Japan, where space is limited, the Flemings have transformed their home, yard, and any viable area, into a magical Japanese-style getaway from the urban area in which they live.”

They are also core members of the Minneapolis-Ibaraki Sister City Commission, having hosted many Welcome and Farewell Parties at their home, acting as judges for the Ibaraki Haiku Poetry Award, and serving as long-time Board Members.

Perhaps most impressive is their commitment to young people. The Flemings served as host parents to at least 7 Japanese high school students (some of them staying for up to 3 years). They have stayed in touch with many of their Japanese sons and daughters, hosted parents who came to visit the students, put on graduation parties, and even traveled to Japan to attend a wedding. One of their former students had this to say: “The time I spent with them is the most precious moment in my life. Now I am an adult and I know how difficult to be Host family with foreign student living together in same house. Although they did it so naturally with warm heart”

The Mondale Award Selection committee received 13 pages of heartwarming testimony in support of the Flemings. They have built the Japan-Minnesota connection group-to-group, and, even more impressively, person-to-person. We are awed by their accomplishments and thankful for their contributions.

We look forward to presenting them with the award at our annual gala.


Bob Luck,

JASM President

Chair, 2022 Mondale Award Selection Committee

JASM is very pleased to present the Mondale Award to Judith and Gayle Fleming in 2022. Everyone is welcome to join us to honor Judith and Gayle.

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