Award From The Land Of The Rising Sun Heralds New Dawn For Lockerbie Arrival

Lockerbie may not be the first place you’d expect to find a historical Japanese warrior, but a local resident has just been made a Shogun level Scottish Samurai.

Philip Tibbetts has been given a Shogun Award by the Order of the Scottish Samurai. The Order was founded by Ronald Stewart Watt, holder of the title 9th Dan Hanshi “Master of Masters”, inspired by the memory of the pioneering Scotsman Thomas Blake Glover. Blake Glover was the first non-Japanese national to be awarded that country’s highest civilian honour and he became known as the Scottish Samurai.

The Order promotes work in communities as well as ties between Scotland & Japan through its awards. The Scottish Samurai Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals who have “shown strong character, discipline, dedication and a warrior-like (Samurai) way of striving or achieving excellence”.

Philip has been given his award for service to heraldry, both with communities across Scotland and with respect to Japan. In 2018 Philip was recognised as Scotland’s foremost flag expert by being appointed as the Lyon Court’s first ever Honorary Vexillologist. In this role he supports towns and counties across the country in developing their own flags, including having designed the Kirkcudbrightshire flag.

During lockdown Philip began exploring the possibility of using his heraldic artistry skills to fuse the styles and forms of traditional Japanese heraldry, known as Mon or Kamon (like the Mitsubishi car logo), with those of Scotland and visa-versa. This represented a pioneering development in heraldry and one that symbolises the ties between the two nations.

Philip only moved to Lockerbie two months ago with his young family following a protracted process – their previous house sold the week before lockdown went into effect. They have moved to enjoy Lockerbie’s amenities and transport connections, being much closer to his wife’s work at Moat Brae, Dumfries.

One of Moat Brae’s patrons Joanna Lumley is also the holder of a Scottish Samurai Award. Other local connections to the Order include the direct descendant of Robert the Bruce and the historic Lords of Annandale, Lord Bruce, whose ancestor signed a commerce and trade treaty with the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1858.

There are now over 250 awardees world-wide being granted in Scotland and Japan. Other awardees have included Sean Connery, Billy Connelly and Scottish rugby hero – now based in Japan – Greig Laidlaw.

Philip Tibbetts, Honorary Vexillologist to the Court of the Lord Lyon, said: “It is wonderful that this work combining my love of Scottish heraldry with an interest in Japanese culture has met the spirit and values of the Samurai.
“Whilst I am new to Lockerbie, I look forward to proudly representing my new home through my work both within Scotland, and now across the globe in Japan too. Furthermore, I aim to support communities, groups and individuals across Dumfriesshire and the Scottish Uplands with Flags, Arms and even Japanese Mon!”
Ronnie Watt, Founder of the Order of the Scottish Samurai, said: “We are delighted to present Philip Tibbetts with one of our highest awards OSS Shogun.
“Philip is outstanding in his field and has great experience with working with Japan. Congratulations to him”

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