President Tanaka and president-elect Burton’s visits are unprecedented. Norman has never had both the president and president-elect visit at one time. The Norman Rotary Club is especially honored as Burton, the president-elect is a member of the Norman Rotary Club and has served as president of the club, in addition to being a former district governor of 5770.
Tanaka’s presidential theme is “Peace through Service.” During his brief stay he will visit the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, and local social services agencies that the Norman Rotary clubs support.
In his monthly message that he posts on rotary.org, Tanaka expresses that there are many ways to describe the Rotary Foundation. “But I think of our Foundation literally – as the foundation for all of Rotary,” he wrote.
Referring to the analogy of what the foundation and walls are to a home, Tanaka draws the comparison of the devastating earthquake that shook Japan to its core on March 11, 2011, killing more than 15,000 people with another 4,000 still missing.
“What happened that day changed Japan, and everyone who lives there. It has made us realize how fragile our lives are. And it has made me realize how little separates me from the people we help through Rotary,” wrote Tanaka.
The Rotary International Foundation mission is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty.
For more than 25 years, Rotary has been a leader in the global effort to eradicate polio, and helping countries like Turkey, India and Thailand provide schools and villages access to clean, quality water. Since 1947, Rotarians have contributed almost $2.9 billion to The Rotary Foundation to help Rotary do good in the world.
Tanaka is the former chair of the Daika Company, past president of the National Household Papers Distribution Association of Japan, and served as vice president of the Yashio City Chamber of Commerce. He was a Rotary Foundation Trustee, Director of Rotary International (RI) and District Governor. Tanaka has received the RI “Service Above Self Award” and the Foundation’s Citation for “Meritorious Service” and “Distinguished Service” Awards. He and his wife, Kyoko, are Paul Harris Fellows, Benefactors and members of the Arch C. Klumph Society. He also established an Endowed Rotary Peace Fellowship. They have three children and seven grandchildren and live in Yashio, Saitama, Japan.