Remembering Ezra F. Vogel 傅高义, 1930 – 2020

We are sad to announce the passing of our former director, Professor Ezra F. Vogel (1930 – 2020)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved former director, colleague and friend Ezra F. Vogel (1930-2020), Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He passed away on Sunday, December 20, 2020 at Mt Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA, at the age of 90, due to complications from surgery.

From 1973-1975, Professor Vogel served as the second director of the East Asian Research Center, which was founded in 1955 and later renamed the Fairbank Center in honor of its founding director, Professor John King Fairbank. Professor Vogel served as director again from 1995-99.

He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A.) in 1950 and then Harvard University (Ph.D. Sociology) in 1958, after which he then spent two years conducting fieldwork in Japan. He was Assistant Professor at Yale University from 1960-61 and a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University from 1961-64, studying Chinese language and history. He became a lecturer at Harvard in 1964 and a professor in 1967.

Harvard University, Fairbank Center 60th Anniversary, October 8, 2016. Director Michael Szonyi (left) with former directors Ezra F. Vogel and Roderick MacFarquhar.

Professor Vogel made remarkable contributions to the study of East Asia. The breadth of research covered the entirety of East Asia, to which he brought not only a deep knowledge and understanding of each country, but also an understanding of the region’s political, economic, and cultural interconnectedness. His many books highlight his multifaceted intellectual endeavors and include: Japan’s New Middle ClassCanton Under CommunismJapan as Number One: Lessons for America; Comeback, Case by Case: Building the Resurgence of American Business; One Step Ahead in China: Guangdong Under ReformThe Four Little Dragons: The Spread of Industrialization in East AsiaDeng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China; and most recently, China and Japan: Facing History. The Japanese edition of Japan as Number One: Lessons for America (1979) remains the all-time best-seller in Japan of non-fiction by a Western author.

Professor Vogel contributed extensively to building institutions that would support generations of scholars and practitioners with an interest in East Asia. Beyond the Fairbank Center, he served as the second Chairman of Harvard’s Council for East Asian Studies (1977-1980) and director of the Undergraduate Concentration in East Asian Studies from its inception in 1972 until 1989. In 1980, he served as the founding Director of the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, where he served until 1987, and then as honorary director until his passing.

In 1993 he took a two-year leave of absence from Harvard to serve as a National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council during the Clinton Administration. On his return to Harvard, he served as both Director of the Fairbank Center (1995-1999) and as the founding director of the Harvard University Asia Center, from 1997-1999, a center that he envisioned as supporting transnational and transregional studies of the Asian continent.

Charlotte Ikels, Ezra Vogel, Marshall Irwin Goldman, Merle Goldman, and Seth Goldman at Merle Goldman’s birthday celebration in 2013.

recent years, he remained an active and enthusiastic member of the Fairbank Center community, organizing a weekly “Critical Issues Confronting China” lecture series, hosting visitors at the Center and at his nearby home, and regularly traveling to East Asia to engage with scholars in the region.

Ever the optimist, Professor Vogel was an advocate for improving mutual understanding between the U.S. and China. We are sure that it would be Ezra’s wish that we commemorate him by working to improve the US-China relationship in ways that are beneficial to the peoples of both countries.

Above all, Professor Vogel will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, patience, and devotion to teaching. He always described himself as a student first and a teacher second. Writing in The Japan Times, Professor Vogel’s son, Steven, writes that he “will be most remembered for his boundless good cheer and boyish enthusiasm.”

Professor Mark C. Elliott, former Fairbank Center Director and current Vice-Provost for International Affairs at Harvard University, writes that Professor Vogel’s passing is “a huge loss to Harvard and to Asian studies everywhere.”

Ezra Vogel was a true champion of the Fairbank Center, an erudite scholar, and a wonderful friend. He will be truly missed by all of us here at Harvard.

A memorial service honoring Ezra’s life will held at an appropriate time in the new year.

Directors of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies with Holly and Laura Fairbank at the 60th Anniversary Gala, October 2016.

深切缅怀哈佛大学傅高义教授 (EZRA F. VOGEL)



我们怀着悲痛的心情宣告,我们挚爱的前主任、同事和朋友傅高义(Ezra F. Vogel,1930-2020年),哈佛大学亨利·福特二世社会科学荣誉退休教授,于2020年12月20日星期日在马萨诸塞州坎布里奇的奥本山医院因手术并发症不治逝世,享年90岁。
1973年至1975年,傅高义教授曾担任哈佛大学东亚研究中心的第二任主任。东亚研究中心成立于1955年,后来为了纪念创始主任费正清教授(John King Fairbank)而更名为费正清中心。傅高义教授于1995-99年再次担任主任。



傅高义教授不遗余力地推动建立机构来支持对东亚感兴趣的几代学者和实践者。除了费正清中心之外,他还是哈佛大学东亚研究理事会第二任主席(1977-1980),并从1972年哈佛大学本科东亚研究专业创立至1989年担任主任。1980至1987年,他曾在魏德海国际事务中心(Weatherhead Center for International Affairs)担任哈佛大学美日关系项目的创始主任,并在此后一直担任名誉主任直到逝世。





费正清中心前主任、现哈佛大学国际事务副教务长欧立德教授(Mark C.Elliott)写道,傅高义教授的逝世是“哈佛和整个亚洲研究界的巨大损失”。