Chicago Shimpo
Kikkoman Foods’ Mick Neshek Honored by Emperor’s Award, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays


• Kikkoman Foods, Inc. announced that Mr. Milton E. “Mick” Neshek awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays by the Emperor and the government of Japan. He is the company’s long-time general counsel and board member.
• In its announcement of the award, the Japanese government said, “Mr. Neshek has strengthened the relationship between Japan and the U.S. by providing business opportunities through his work with Kikkoman and his dedication to the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association. It also said, “The remarkable achievements of Mr. Neshek represent the diversity and depth of the relations between Japan and the U.S.”

• “I am humbled to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays from Emperor Akihito. It is the honor of my lifetime,” Neshek said in an statement. “I share it with the many people I’ve worked with who share my desire for stronger ties between the United States and Japan. I will continue to promote an even stronger relationship between the two countries. This work will continue to benefit from the commitment of dedicated people in both countries.”

• Neshek, then an attorney in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, was hired in 1971 to help Kikkoman Foods with the siting and construction of a soy sauce factory in the Town of Walworth, Wis. According to a release from Kikkoman Foods, the factory was a bold experiment at the time because it would be Kikkoman Corp.’s first outside of Japan and the first manufacturing facility of any Japanese company outside of that country.
• When the soy sauce factory began its operation in 1973, Neshek was appointed Kikkoman Foods’ assistant secretary, general counsel and member of the board of directors. He later was appointed secretary and took on additional roles in new market development and Kikkoman Corp.’s international advisory board.

• For more than four decades, Neshek has been active in transnational organizations focused on strengthening business and cultural relations between the two countries. He joined the board of directors of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association in 1990 and was later elected the association’s vice chairman in 1999.
• He was appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson to serve on the Wisconsin International Trade Council (WITCO) and was named chairman of its international education task force. He also served as a member of the Great Lakes-Japanese Study Project Advisory Committee and continues to serve on many other organizations.

• According to Kikkoman Foods, Yuzaburo Mogi, honorary CEO and Chairman of the board of Kikkoman Corp, congratulated Neshek by saying, “I wholeheartedly congratulate Mick on being honored with the order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays. Today, the establishment of Kikkoman Foods is known as a model case for Japanese companies to establish plants in the United States. We’ve come a long way, but your dedication and commitment have been an indispensable part of this journey. I am very proud of you as my friend and also as a big part of our Kikkoman family.”

• Former Gov. Thompson also commended Neshek’s work and remembered when he was a state legislator, “I always have appreciated Mick’s friendship and counsel, particularly during our many state trade missions to Japan. Mick made a real difference on those trips, through his work with Kikkoman and as a leader of many groups working toward our common goal of strengthening relations between the U.S. and Japan.”


Milton E. “Mick” Neshek of Kikkoman Foods, Inc.