Press Release: “Community treasure” Tomio Moriguchi named 2020 First Citizen

BELLEVUE, Washington (June 17, 2020) – When Tomio Moriguchi retired as chairman and CEO of Uwajimaya at the end of 2017, Jim Wajone, who succeeded him as chairman of the family-owned specialty supermarket, praised him for his strategic leadership and vision. Outside that business, Moriguchi is revered for his volunteerism, generosity, advocacy, and dedication.

Those are among the traits the selection committee for this year’s Seattle-King County First Citizen Award cited in naming Tomio Moriguchi and Family as the 82nd honoree. The award will be presented at a civic celebration at a date to be determined.

In announcing this year’s recipient, Event Chair Trish Englund said Moriguchi’s remarkable contributions and benevolence have enriched communities not only locally, but also internationally.

“He exemplifies all the qualities of a ‘First Citizen’ in the countless ways he has benefited the greater good,” said Englund, a broker at Windermere Real Estate Midtown in Seattle.

Selfless community service by the Moriguchis dates to the company’s founder (Tomio’s father, Fujimatsu) and continues today with the third generation that includes Tomio’s daughter, Denise, who became the company’s CEO in early 2017.

This year’s First Citizen award recognizes the collective contributions of the Moriguchis in enhancing the quality of life throughout the area. In becoming this year’s honorees, they are only the fifth family to receive the prestigious award, joining Mary Gates & Family (1995 recipients), the Bullitt Family (2000), the McCaw Family (2004), and the Pigott Family (2018).

“As a past recipient of this prestigious award, I cannot think of a more worthy 2020 awardee than Tomio,” stated Phyllis Campbell, Pacific Northwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. “He and his family were early pioneers in the specialty grocery business, catering to Asian and Asian American tastes. However, he is mainly deserving because of his lifetime of generosity, giving back to our community in countless ways to make it a better place. He is truly one of the icons in business and is a role model for up-and-coming diverse leaders, as his inspirational acts transcend generations.”

About the First Citizen Award

The Seattle-King County First Citizen Award salutes “giving back” whether by “time, treasure or talent” and civic engagement that enhances the region’s quality of life. Past recipients hail from both the public and private sectors, ranging from humanitarian groups, corporations, charitable, health and educational institutions, to various arts, environmental, and civic organizations (see complete list on last page of press release).

Since its inception in 1939, the First Citizen Award, believed to be this region’s oldest such recognition, continues to celebrate community leadership, volunteerism, and public service.

This year’s partners for the forthcoming event are John L. Scott Real Estate and Windermere Real Estate.

Read full Press Release and view past recipients