Ventures Honoured

American original instrumental rock group The Ventures has been honored by the government of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

The honor is for the band’s “contribution to the development and enrichment of music culture in Japan, as well as to the promotion of cordial relations between Japan and the United States.”

The medal is in spirit bestowed on its recipients by the Emperor himself, though in this case the band from Tacoma, Wash., famous for its single “Walk Don’t Run” and the theme to “Hawaii Five-O,” will receive the honor from the Consulate-General of Japan in late June in conjunction with a special Seattle-area performance.

Actually, the Emperor could have given it to them in person, because The Ventures will be coming to Tokyo as part of their annual nationwide summer tour starting in July. But that isn’t the way things work in Japan.

Though the group is the first foreign pop artist to earn the honor, the Japanese government gives out literally thousands of these things each year.

The Ventures deserve it if anyone does. They first came to Japan in 1962, sparked an electric guitar craze that became one of the most influential movements in the annals of Japanese show business, have outsold The Beatles in terms of recordings by a ratio of two to one, and wrote songs for some of Japan’s biggest pop singers of the ’60s and ’70s.

They have performed more than 2,400 times in Japan.