Program on U.S.-Japan Relations

Image of US-Japan Program leadership with Harvard President Bacow in Japan

The Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, which began in 1980, now has almost 600 alumni. Prominent alumni include five current members of Japan’s parliament; Fred Hiatt (1986–1987), editor of the editorial page and columnist, the Washington Post; Kojiro Shiraishi (1989–1990), chairman of the board, Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings; Ban Ki-Moon (1984–1985), former UN secretary general; Tsuyoshi Okamoto (1986–1987), former president and chairman, Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.; and Mariko Bando (2006–2007), chancellor, Showa Women’s University (also in the photo, front row, second from right). 

Program affiliates are prolific authors, and this semester is no exception. Recent or forthcoming books by faculty and former affiliates include: Daniel Aldrich, Black Wave: How Networks and Governance Shaped Japan’s 3.11 Disasters (University of Chicago Press, 2019); David Leheny, Empire of Hope: Sentimental Politics of Japanese Decline (Cornell University Press, 2018); and Ezra Vogel, China and Japan: Facing History (Harvard University Press, 2019). 

In other recent news, during the spring semester, Christina Davis, former postdoctoral fellow (2001–2002) and currently professor of government and Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, served as the program’s acting director. 


Over spring break, Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow traveled to China and Japan. Program Director Susan Pharr took part in the Harvard events in Tokyo, including a dialogue with Japanese university presidents and other educators on challenges facing higher education. Credit: Ana Beatriz Gervasio