Mr Hawke, flanked by his wife Blanche, received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun at a ceremony in Canberra.
Japan’s ambassador to Australia Shigekazu Sato said the former prime minister was a “truly, great Australian statesman”.
Mr Sato said the Emperor of Japan Akihito had confirmed the awarding of the honour last November.
Mr Hawke was remembered by Australians for his economic reforms while prime minister, his personal charisma and his impressive beer sculling skills, Mr Sato said.
Mr Hawke said he replied he’d be happy to introduce him to trade union leaders and assured him, “They won’t play funny buggers, they’ll be genuine”.
Someone from the embassy then alerted him to the fact his idiom was creating a problem.
“When it came through the translation, it came down as ‘there won’t be any humorous homosexuals’,” Mr Hawke said.
by The Punjapt Alliance