Prof. Kazuko Mori, a specialist in political science, is a leading figure in the study of contemporary China in Japan. The scope of her academic work covers Chinese politics, the history of Chinese international relations, and ethnic issues in China. Through an interdisciplinary approach combining these three areas, she has presented a comprehensive outline of modern China while contributing greatly to the construction of the methodological framework that now serves as common foundation for Asian Studies.
Born in Tokyo in 1940, Prof. Mori graduated from Comparative History Course, Division of Liberal Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Letters and Education, at Ochanomizu University (Asian History) in 1962. A succession of high quality academic papers established her as a pioneer female scholar. She was a Senior Fellow of the Japan Institute of International Affairs, a Research Fellow at the Consulate-General of Japan in Shanghai, and taught at the University of Shizuoka and Yokohama City University, before she was appointed in April 1999 to a professorship at Waseda University, in the Faculty of Political Science and Economics, and the Graduate School of Political Science, where she conducted research and taught Asian Studies, Chinese politics and diplomacy, and international relations in East Asia until March 2010.
In one of her major works, Politics in Contemporary China, she analyses the functions of and relations between political parties, the state and the military from the different perspectives of Chinese socialism, Chinese development issues, and Chinese tradition by employing a comparative political-scientific methodology, which has been praised as one of the highest achievements of Chinese Studies in Japan. Ethno-Nationalism in Contemporary China presents a systematic analysis, from the perspective of political science and international relations, of the history of minorities in peripheral areas, such as the Uighurs, during the process of state integration and national identity formation in China since the 1940s. This work has been acclaimed for the new perspectives which emerge upon China's place in international politics. In Sino-Japanese Relations: From the Post War to a New Era, she returns to the past and provides a clear evidentiary foundation, on the basis of which she reconsiders the current Sino-Japanese relationship, where interdependence and mutual distrust are so entangled, and provides an eloquent statement of the requirements for a future relationship.
Prof. Mori has not only produced much outstanding work as a scholar, but has also contributed significantly to the creation of a network for Chinese and Asian Studies, and to the development of international academic exchange schemes. For example, as a program leader of a project funded by Grand-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priorities, "Structural Change in Contemporary China" (1996-98), she headed a joint research project involving more than seventy China specialists, and published the outcome in an eight volume work, Structural Change in Contemporary China as a Great Power. She was also a program leader of Waseda University's "Contemporary Asian Studies" Project, a Twenty-First Century Center of Excellence (COE) Project funded by the Ministry of Education, Japan (2002-06), and worked energetically to promote Asian Studies in Japan. Because of these contributions to the development of the academic community, and because of her outstanding achievements, Prof. Mori is a worthy winner of the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.