American football star Robert Griffin III received a rare request Saturday by the top envoy from the land where he was born: be a bridge between Japan and the United States.
"There are a lot of your fans in Japan, especially in Okinawa," Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese ambassador to the United States, told the Okinawa-born quarterback of the Washington Redskins in their meeting beside the field of the team's home stadium.
"I hope you would successfully deliver a powerful performance and I want you to play a role of bridge between Japan and the United States," Sasae said, presenting Griffin with a bottle of Okinawa's awamori spirits and an earthenware jar.
"I'll try to come out there" to see people in Japan soon, Griffin said.
Griffin, 23, who was named the U.S. National Football League's offensive rookie of the year in 2012, lived in the southern Japan prefecture until he was 3 years old, according to the Japanese Embassy in Washington.