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Ezra F. Vogel
Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University
Ezra F. Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard, is a student of modern Japan and China. From 1993 to 1995 he took a leave of absence to serve as the National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council, coordinating analyses of East Asia and presenting them to policy makers. Since returning to Harvard he is again serving as the Director of the John K. Fairbank Center for East Asian Research and as the Acting Director of the U.S.-Japan Program.
Vogel graduated from Ohio Wesleyan in 1950, served two years in the U.S. Army, and studied sociology in the Department of Social Relations at Harvard, receiving his Ph.D. in 1958. He then went to Japan for two years to study the Japanese language and conduct research interviews with middle-class families. In 1960-1961 he was assistant professor at Yale University and from 1961-1964 a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard, studying Chinese language and history. He remained at Harvard, becoming lecturer in 1964 and, in 1967, professor. He teaches courses on communist Chinese society, Japanese society, and industrial East Asia.
Vogel succeeded John Fairbank to become the second Director (1972-1977) of Harvard's East Asian Research Center and the second Chairman of the Council for East Asian Studies (1977-1980). He was Director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at the Center for International Affairs (1980-1987) and, since 1987, Honorary Director. He was Chairman of the undergraduate concentration in East Asian Studies from its inception in 1972 until 1991.
Drawing on his original field work in Japan, he wrote Japan's New Middle Class (1963). A book based on several years of interviewing and reading materials from China, Canton Under Communism (1969), won the Harvard University Press faculty book of the year award. The Japanese edition of his book Japan as Number One: Lessons for America (1979) is the all-time best-seller in Japan of non-fiction by a Western author. In Comeback (1988), he suggested things America might do to respond to the Japanese challenge. He spent eight months in 1987, at the invitation of the Guangdong Provincial Government, studying the economic and social progress of the province since its establishment as a Special Economic Zone in 1978. The results are reported in One Step Ahead in China: Guangdong Under Reform (1989). His Reischauer lectures were published in The Four Little Dragons: The Spread of Industrialization in East Asia (1991). He has visited East Asia every summer since 1958 and has spent a total of some six years in Asia.
Vogel has received honorary degrees from Kwansei Gakuin (Japan), Universities of Maryland, Wittenberg, Bowling Green, Albion, and Chinese University (Hong Kong). He is currently chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Universities Service Centre in Hong Kong and director of the American Assembly conference on China. He has lectured frequently in Asia, in both Chinese and Japanese.