Prague, June 15 (CTK) – Czech photographer and author Zdenek Thoma received the Order of the Rising Sun for long-time promotion of Japanese culture from the Ambassador of Japan Kaoru Shimazaki on Thursday.
Shimazaki said Thoma’s work had stimulated interest in Japanese culture in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.
In his work, Thoma has been concentrating on Japan and other Asian countries for over four decades.
He came to Japan for the first time in 1970 when he and his friends were hitchhiking across Asia.
He described the Far East in a number of articles and reports in magazines and publications.
Thoma has often lectured on his trips and made exhibitions of his sets of photographs in museums and galleries.
Shimazaki said in the former Czechoslovakia there had been few chances of being acquainted with Japanese culture.
Thoma’s publications contributed to Czechoslovakia’s inhabitants taking more interest in it, he added.
Shimazaki said he believed Thoma had considerably contributed to the foundations of good relations between Japan and the Czech Republic.
In the 1970s, Thoma worked as a photographer in various media outlets in Japan.
He photographered sports and social events.
He made his mark by a report in the Mlady svet (Young World) magazine from 1974 in which he depicted serious health problems of Japanese fishermen caused by the consumption of fish meat poisoned by exhausts from a local factory.
In his photographic cycles, Thoma focused on Japanese traditions and nature. He depicted Japanese gardens and tea culture.
Along with his wife Sona and son Michal, he has published a number of travelogues from his Asian journeys.
He devoted six of them to Japan, such as the Story of Tea, Japanese Mosaic and the Remarkable World of Bonsai.
Japan has been awarding the Order of the Rising Sun since 1875. It has several categories. Its Czech holders including Japanese studies scholar Venceslava Hrdlickova and late Olympic medalist Vera Caslavska.