The government of Japan conferred on Susan J. Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics, the decoration of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, at an official ceremony on May 15. The ceremony was held at the Brookline, Mass., residence of Yoichi Suzuki, consul general of Japan. Women became eligible to receive the decoration, which is one of the highest awarded by Japan to foreigners, only in 2003.
One of the leading U.S. scholars of Japan, Pharr was cited for her contributions to the study of Japan, to promoting intellectual exchange between Japan and the United States, and to the training of numerous scholars of Japan. She is the director of two Harvard centers that advance the study of Japan and foster academic and intellectual exchange: the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. Many of the students she has trained now hold academic posts at top universities in the United States and other countries.
At the conferral ceremony, following the award of the decoration by Suzuki, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus Ezra F. Vogel offered congratulatory remarks. On behalf of Pharr’s many graduate students, Christina Davis, an assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, also spoke, as did Shinju Fujihira, associate director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations. Harvard historian Andrew Gordon, the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, offered the toast. Guests at the event included associates of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and faculty from numerous universities in the Northeast, and also Pharr’s own mentor, Columbia University Professor Emeritus James W. Morley.