vol.54 - Professor Andrew Gordon wins second NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies

Professor Andrew Gordon wins second NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies


The National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) is pleased to announce Dr. Andrew Gordon, professor at Harvard University as the winner of the second NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies. Dr. Gordon is internationally acclaimed as North America’s leading scholar on Japanese modern and contemporary history. He has a special interest in the history of labor in Japan, and his works are globally renowned. The Prize recognizes Gordon’s research activities as follows.

The Prize first salutes Dr. Gordon’s outstanding achievements in the study of the history of labor in modern Japan. His primary works on this topic include The Evolution of Labor Relations in Japan: Heavy Industry, 1853–1955 (Harvard University Press, 1985), Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan (University of California Press, 1991), The Wages of Affluence: Labor and Management in Postwar Japan (Harvard University Press, 1998), and Fabricating Consumers: The Sewing Machine in Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2011). Gordon is his highly respected for the meticulous and high caliber of his research, both for their distinctive focus and breadth of perspective, greatly stimulating the work of scholars in Japanese history.

Second, the Prize commends Dr. Gordon for his wide-ranging endeavors in the study of Japanese modern history, which are evident in Postwar Japan as History (University of California Press, 1993, Japanese edition 2002). This volume consists of essays by 16 modern Japanese history scholars—all leaders of various fields across the United States—and has been praised for its systematic and comprehensive picture of the postwar history of Japan. As Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University, Dr. Gordon has long been a driving force behind Japanese studies, for which he has organized countless international conferences.

Third, the Prize celebrates Dr. Gordon’s wide-ranging activities in education. His A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2002), is based on lectures he gave at Harvard University and Duke University for over 20 years. This textbook used in many North American universities, is distinguished for its incorporation of the social and cultural aspects of history, countering the tendency for overemphasis on politics and economics, and portraying Japanese history in a well-balanced and reliable manner. The book has been reprinted several times since its first publication and it has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Dr. Gordon has also contributed greatly to nurturing younger generations of scholars; former graduate students whom he mentored teach now at institutions across the United States, engaging in research and teaching related to modern Japanese history.

The fourth activity applauded by this Prize is Dr. Gordon’s contributions to bridging society and academia. He visited the Tо̄hoku region shortly after the March 2011 disaster struck the area and subsequently led efforts at the Reischauer Institute to develop an international digital archive website called the “Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters.” Coordinating with educational institutions and news media in the United States, he has organized the archiving of massive amounts of digital information related to the Great East Japan Earthquake and long-term preservation and utilization of data. He has engaged in broad activities calling for the training of people conversant in disaster prevention and mitigation.

The NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies committee has chosen Dr. Gordon for the 2020 Prize for these broad-ranging research activities. We look forward to engaging with Dr. Gordon in person at the award ceremony and commemorative lecture which we hope to hold in Tokyo in the early summer of 2021.

Text: Sungsi Lee (Executive Director, NIHU)



Some of Harvard University Professor Dr. Andrew Gordon’s publications.