Two Japanese sensations, decluttering expert Marie Kondo and Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani, accepted awards from the Japan America Society of Southern California for enhancing Japan-U.S. relations, during a fundraiser Thursday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
The Japan America Society hosted 550 attendees outside Ohtani's home stadium to raise money for educational programs for students from low-income families.
"Through my mission to organize the world, I am very happy to contribute to my home country of Japan -- to help people around the world understand what Japanese people are like and learn more about Japan," said Kondo, who has lived in the United States for three years.
(Marie Kondo (L) and Shohei Ohtani)
Ohtani, last year's American League Baseball Rookie of the Year, said, "The second half of the Major League Baseball season begins tomorrow, and I hope to have better results than last year, so I appreciate everyone's support."
The International Citizens Award, bestowed every year on an individual or organization that enhances the relationship between the two countries, has previously been presented to international figures such as Australian novelist James Clavell and Grammy-winning recording artist Kitaro.
Kondo, whose eight-episode Netflix series inspired a new wave of so-called KonMari followers to share their decluttering efforts on social media after the show's Jan. 1 debut, has published internationally translated best-seller "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up."
In 2015, Time Magazine named Kondo among the world's top 100 influential figures.
The nonprofit organization, which hosted the fundraiser in honor of its 110th anniversary, is a membership organization that builds business and cultural relationships between Japanese and Americans.