Alex admires the fallen ginkgo leaves in the garden of his residency, Yada Tenmangu

Alex admires the fallen ginkgo leaves in the garden of his residency, Yada Tenmangu


Academic background

Jun 64 - Aug 66

First came to Japan (with family, posted at Yokohama Navy Base).

Sep 69 - May 74

Yale University, Japanese Studies B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) 

Sep 72 - Jul 73

Keio University (International Center). Rotary International Scholar. Japanese Certificate.

Sep 74 - May 77

Oxford University, Balliol College. Rhodes Scholar from Florida. Chinese Studies, B.A. and M.A.


May 77 - Aug 97

Oomoto Foundation, International Dept. Oomoto is a Shinto foundation, emphasizing international activities based on interfaith activities and traditional arts. I managed school of traditional Japanese arts.

Jan 84 - Jan 93

Consultant for Trammell Crow art collection 

Oct 84 - present

Founded Chiiori Ltd., specializing in Japanese and Chinese Fine Arts

Oct 86 - Jan 93

Japan Representative for Trammell Crow Co., largest US real estate developer, based in Dallas, Texas

Aug 96 - Dec 96

Visiting Associate Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto

Sep 97

Move from Japan to Thailand. However, remain active in Japan with Chiiori Ltd. business and cultural activities.

Sep 97 – Jul 04

President of Chiiori Co. Ltd. (Thailand), specializing in East Asian antique arts and modern crafts.. From 2010 onwards, Chiiori is active across Japan in regional consulting and restoration.

Jan 2004 - Oct 2010

Founded Iori Corporation, based in Kyoto, where we restored old houses. After leaving Iori in 2010, I continue to restore old houses across Japan through my company Chiiori Ltd.

Jan 2005

President of ORIGIN Asia Co Ltd in Thailand. ORIGIN teaches traditional Thai arts in Bangkok and Chiangmai.

Nov 2010 - present

Regional consulting in Japan through Chiiori Ltd. This is an expansion of the work I did while at Iori, now with a nationwide scope. We have done projects in Iya Valley (Shikoku), Ojika Island (Kyushu), Totsukawa Village (Nara prefecture), Utazu and Mitoyo Towns (Kagawa prefecture), etc


Background in East Asian Arts and Literature

May 73 - present

Purchased a 200 year old farmhouse "Chiiori" in Iya Valley, Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku. Rethatched, Jun 88.

Oct 78 - present

Translator for Japan's religions, including Shrine Shinto, Zen Buddhism, etc.

Oct 79 - present

Calligraphy exhibitions and shows of my own calligraphic works. Incl: Washington Cathedral (1979); annual Kyoto Shinbun "Leading Artists of Kyoto Show" (since 1987), etc.

Sep 90 - present

Cultural Events: art works, dance, tea ceremony, flowers, and calligraphy. Incl: Nov 93 at Manpukuji Temple; Oct 94 at Yushima Confucian Temple, Tokyo; Dec 98 at Suan Pakkard Palace, Bangkok; Sep 01 at the National Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; 02~07, annual June-July Toyota Teachers program in Japan; June 06 Indonesian and Thai dances at Mangkunegaran Palace, Solo, etc

In 2005, these programs were organized under the name ORIGIN programs, dedicated to teaching traditional arts in Japan (Kyoto) and Thailand (and other Asian countries in the future).

Nov 84 - present

Appearances on TV and radio. Appearances on TV and radio. Including: Sep 94 Asahi TV "News Station" special guest; Mar 95 Host of final segment of NHK TV series on tea ceremony; Sep 02, featured on NHK "Haro Nippon", since 2001 regular interviews on BBC, June 07 TBS "Jonetsu Tairiku", Jan 08 NHK "Manyoshu" and NHK "Kokoro no Butsuzo", etc

1992 - present

Interviews and book reviews in magazines & newspapers. Incl: New York Times, Geijutsu Shincho Mag., Nippon Keizai Shinbun Npr. (Newspaper), Sankei Shinbun Npr, Japan Times Npr., Shukan Asahi Mag., Yomiuri Npr., Fujin Gaho Mag., Esquire (Japan) Mag., Elle Decor (Thailand), Bangkok Post Npr, Architectural Digest, President Mag. etc., Bloomberg, New York Review of Books, Newsweek, Waraku, Brutus, Art and Antiques, etc,

May 94

Shincho Literature Prize (Shincho Gakugei-sho), awarded for best work of non-fiction in Japanese (first foreign recipient) for book: Last Glimpse of Beautiful Japan (written in Japanese)

Nov 94 - present

Director of International Shinto Research Foundation

Aug 95 – Aug 04

Named a "Special Ambassador for Tokushima Prefecture" by the Governor of Tokushima

June 97

Asia-Pacific Publishers Award, Gold Prize, for Best Translation of 1996 for book Lost Japan.

Jan 2004 – Oct 2010

Chairman of IORI Co, a company established to restore traditional homes (machiya)

Jan 2005

Established ORIGIN traditional arts program in Kyoto. Website: http://origin-asia.com/

Jan 2005

Established ORIGIN Asia Co Ltd in Thailand. ORIGIN Asia teaches traditional Thai arts at two centers: one at Ladprao in Bangkok, and the other in old houses on the grounds of Chiangmai University in Chiangmai. Website: http://origin-asia.com/

Nov 16, 2005

American First Lady Laura Bush studies calligraphy at ORIGIN program in Kyoto

Nov 2005

Establish NPO to spearhead activities in Iya Valley, centered on the house Chiiori, called Chiiori Trust. Focus is on volunteer activities, experience of rural life including natural agriculture and re-thatching of the house, and plans to develop sustainable tourism in Iya.

Feb 9, 2006

Named to a committee to advise PM Koizumi and departments of the government involved with international tourism. The committee of long-time foreigners living in Japan, is called Committee for Tourism and Town Revival as Seen by Foreigners." The group met with PM Koizumi, at the Prime Minister's Residence in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2006.

Jan 18, 2008

Named a "Yokoso! Japan Ambassador"to represent Japan's international inbound tourism, by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

Feb 18, 2008

Named "Tourist Ambassador" of Ojika Island (Nagasaki Prefecture)