Susan J. Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics and Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

Professor Susan Pharr is to receive the Japan Foundation Award for 2016, which recognizes individuals who through their artistic contribution or scholarship, along with their work in promoting intellectual and cultural exchanges, contribute to building ties between Japan and the rest of the world.

Previous awardees include Senator William Fulbright, originator of the Fulbright Program;  Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Seiji Ozawa; and writer Haruki Murakami. Scholars who have received the award include John Whitney Hall, Yale; Ronald Dore, Imperial College; Arthur Stockwin, Oxford; and Gerald Curtis, Columbia.  Four Harvard faculty previously have been recipients: Serge Elisseeff (1973), founder of Japanese studies at Harvard; Edwin O. Reischauer(1975), University Professor and U.S. Ambassador to Japan; Ezra Vogel, Sociology (1996); and Akira Iriye, History (2013).

The award will be presented by the Foreign Minister of Japan in a ceremony in Tokyo in October.

The information on the ceremony is seen on this page at the event section.  

Professor Pharr will give a lecture titled“The Enigma of U.S.-Japan Relations: A 50-year Perspective”.

Professor Susan J. Pharr at Harvard University, who has been a leader in Japanese studies in the United States for many years, was selected as one of the recipients of the 2016 Japan Foundation Award. In celebration, The Japan Foundation is proud to organize a commemorative lecture by Professor Pharr. She is widely recognized for her broad perspective and her insight into Japanese politics from the standpoint of comparative politics. At Harvard University, she has organized some 2,000 seminars and symposia to date, and supported the research and studies of some 600 fellows and graduate students, many of whom today are leaders in their fields.

Pundits once claimed that how Japan worked internally was an enigma, but a far greater puzzle is why U.S.-Japan relations, despite quite profound differences between the two countries and periodic shocks, have worked as well as they have, and won broad-based popular support in both nations. Professor Pharr sees the answer in Japan’s remarkable success over 50 years at intellectual infrastructure-building. Widely emulated by other Asian countries, Japan’s strategies, public and private, bind the nations at the citizen level, and the question is, will the infrastructure hold in the face of the challenges ahead.