Japanese honour for Foundation founder

Anne Malcolm (right with her certificate), enjoys a double celebration with Foundation members at Fraserburgh Heritage Centre.
Anne Malcolm (right with her certificate), enjoys a double celebration with Foundation members at Fraserburgh Heritage Centre.

A Fraserburgh woman has received a special accolade for her work on the life of ‘Scottish Samurai’ Thomas Blake Glover.

Anne Malcolm, founder and chair of the Thomas Blake Glover Foundation, has been honoured for her work in promoting links between Fraserburgh and Japan, and was presented with a Certificate of Commendation from the Japanese Consul General.

Presenting the certificate to Ms Malcolm, Consul General Hajime Kitaoka said: “You have made a distinguished contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship between Scotland and Japan.

“I would like to pay my utmost respect to you and give this award to celebrate your remarkable achievement.”

Ms Malcom said the presentation was ‘quite extraordinary’ adding she felt very blessed.

“It all began back in 1992 when I took an interest in Japan and found out about Glover’s story,” she said.

“I’ve since tried to promote Fraserburgh locally, nationally and internationally.”

She said that the Consul General kept apologising for being late at the presentation, but in translation he meant that the award was a belated one.

“I never knew that there was such an award,” she said.

“When you work like this for 20 years you are not in it for the accolades. This is quite extraordinary and I feel very blessed these people saw something in me.”

Ms Malcolm joined other Foundation members at Fraserburgh Heritage Centre last week to mark the 178th anniversary of Mr Glover’s birth.

Thomas Blake Glover was born in Commerce Street in Fraserburgh. He went to Japan in 1859 to manage the newly established Nagasaki office of a British trading house. He later participated in establishing businesses that would become pillars of Mitsubishi’s early growth and diversification.

He died in 1911 in Tokyo and his Nagasaki mansion, which local tradition identifies as the setting of Madame Butterfly, is a tourist attraction today.

It was only last week revealed that the family home at the Bridge of Don in Aberdeen could be transformed into a £2 million business research and development centre under ambitious plans by Aberdeen City Council.

The council plans to turn the house into an ‘ideas hub’ which could help strengthen business links with Japan.