Award Citation

Prof. Ezra F. Vogel has been engaged in teaching and research since becoming a professor at Harvard University in 1967. He has examined the dynamic changes in the politics, economy and society of post-war Asia, and has reached very significant conclusions. In particular, his deep understanding of, and scrupulous analytical research into, Japan during its years of rapid economic growth (1960s – 1980s) and China during its boom period (1980s – 2000s) have produced outstanding achievements. He has also worked steadily on the history of international relations in East Asia in partnership with scholars from the region, and his contributions have been balanced and profound. Many academics have come to him and have studied under his guidance, and he is widely respected as one of the greatest authorities in the field.

Prof. Vogel was born in Delaware, Ohio, in 1930. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1950, and received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the Department of Social Relations, Harvard University, in 1958. From 1972 to 2000, when he retired, he shouldered heavy responsibilities concerning both East Asian studies and Asian policy in the U.S. The various important posts which he held included Director of the Harvard East Asian Research Center, Director of Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and Director of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies; from 1993 to 1995, he served on the U.S. National Intelligence Council as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia.

His first major publication, “Japan as Number One” (1979), was not a simple panegyric of Japan, but praised a country which had successfully industrialized itself, despite having limited natural resources, for solving the problems caused by the deindustrialization process far more skillfully than any other industrialized country in the world. Japan was presented as a model which the U.S. should consider following. Such a suggestion that a non-Western country should be considered a model was unprecedented.

“One Step Ahead in China: Guangdong under Reform” (1989) was published in the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Incident, when questions were raised about the progress of China’s reform and open-door policy. Based on intensive field surveys conducted in 1987 and 1988, the book analyzes the decade when Guangdong Province was in the forefront of reform. He predicted that the experiment in Guangdong would become a national development model for China as a whole, and would promote cooperation with the Newly Industrialized Economies (NIEs) of Asia. After his retirement in 2000, his research focus shifted to Deng Xiaoping. He made a thorough analysis, based on innumerable interviews and archival material, and published “Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China” in 2011. The book opened up new horizons on the reconstruction of modern Chinese history. It was chosen as the Book of the Year by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the Economist, and attracted attention worldwide.

Prof. Ezra F. Vogel has not only given the world pioneering work on the understanding of East Asia, but has also, based on his historical research, provided valuable proposals for improving international relations in the region. For his exceptional achievement, Prof. Ezra F. Vogel is a truly worthy recipient of the Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.

During the field work in Japan with Dr. Takeo Doi and his family, 1957
At Asia Center conference, Harvard University, 2007
Presenting his bestselling book in China, "Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China", 2013

Message from Prof. Ezra F. VOGEL