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UEDA Masaaki [ Academic Prize 1998 ]

UEDA Masaaki顔写真
Academic Prize 1998 [9th]
UEDA Masaaki
Historian [ Professor Emeritus of Kyoto University ]
Japan / History
Born April 29, 1927 (aged71)

Professor Ueda Masaaki is a prominent Japanese historian. Professor Ueda has made a tremendous contribution to elucidate the formation of ancient Japanese societies by analyzing in association with the history of East Asia. His achievements have not only won him high international esteem, but have served greatly to promote academic exchanges in East Asia.

* The details of title, age, career and award citation are at the time of announcement of the Prize.
* Deceased
Award Citation

Professor Ueda Masaaki is a rarity among distinguished Japanese historians in his method to elucidate ancient Japan in association with the history of East Asia. Professor Ueda is highly esteemed at home and abroad for his far-sighted and multifaceted approach in the study of ancient Japan and its culture, which has culminated in a new historical view of Japan in the Asian context.

Professor Ueda was initiated into the charm of the study on Japanese ancient culture as early as in his student years when he studied under Mr. Orikuchi Shinobu and Mr. Mishina Shoei. Since then he has committed himself to the study of ancient Japan. His basic research method is to verify history from exhaustive analyses of historical literature and documents. But the uniqueness of his method lies in his interdisciplinary approach based upon his profound knowledge about Japanese literature, mythology, folklore study, religion history and archaeology to present the historical context of ancient Japan.

His research took a new shape in the 1960s by introducing the ties between ancient Japan and East Asia into the study on the formation of ancient Japanese societies. Professor Ueda indicated the importance of Chinese and Korean cultures as well as marine routes stretching out to Asia and the Pacific in terms of how they influenced ancient Japan and its culture. For example, he made a comparison between Japanese myths and those of the Chinese Continent and the Korean Peninsula in his work "Nihon no Shinwa o Kangaeru" (Giving Thoughts to Inquiring into the Japanese Mythology), in addition to his interdisciplinary method comprised of history, folklore study and archaeology. Through his studies, Professor Ueda has not only produced a body of research work but also has established a new perspective in regional history which describes the Japanese history in the Asian context.

Professor Ueda's contributions are prominent at many academic international symposia on ancient East Asia held in and out of Japan. His promotion of academic exchanges combined with his scholastic interest has prompted him to play a key role to unite historians and archaeologists in Asia. Thanks to his painstaking efforts, Japan Society of Asian History was founded in 1990, the first international society of its kind. Although Professor Ueda assumed the post as President at the 6th congress of the Society held in Beijing in 1996, throughout his career, he remains unchanged in his devotion to enhance mutual recognition about history through solidarity among researchers in Asia and to thereby pave the way for new dimensions of historical study.

Professor Ueda serves important posts as Director of both the Koryo Museum of Art and Himeji City Museum of Literature and as Chairman of Kyoto Human Rights Research Institute. These posts allow him to inspire as much the community at large in terms of social activities as his studies do the academic circle.

Professor Ueda Masaaki has presented the formation of ancient Japanese societies in the East Asian context. He has also made a great contribution to the promotion of academic exchanges in East Asia and to the well-being of the Japanese society by serving as a source of inspiration for building a link through social activities. Given the scope of his accomplishments, Professor Ueda Masaaki is truly worthy of receiving the Domestic Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.