Gerald L. Curtis, Burgess Professor of Political Science, has been honored with The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the government of Japan for his outstanding contributions to the study of Japan and the promotion of intellectual and political exchange between Japan and the United States.
Curtis is a prolific writer whose books and articles are widely read in Japan as well as abroad and who is well known to the Japanese public for his frequent commentaries on current affairs in the Japanese media. Along with his scholarly work, Curtis has been a prominent figure in fostering deeper Japanese-American relations. Formerly the director of the US-Japan Parliamentary Exchange Program, he was instrumental in facilitating dialogue between members of the US Congress and the Japanese Diet. The decoration by the Japanese government also recognizes Curtis’s contribution to the development of political science in Japan, where he has served as a visiting professor at Keio University, the graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies, and other universities. In 2002 Curtis was awarded the distinguished Japan Foundation Award for his contributions to strengthening US-Japan relations.
In announcing the conferment of this decoration on November 3, the Japanese government noted: “As the leading expert on Japanese politics, Professor Curtis has always made great efforts to transmit political analysis related to Japan and the United States through both Japanese and US media of various kinds. Professor Curtis’ efforts have helped to cultivate better mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.” Upon receiving news of his being named recipient of this award, Curtis said “I am deeply gratified and humbled by this wonderful honor and very grateful to the many people in Japan who have made it possible for me to do my work and to Columbia University and my colleagues there who have provided such a supportive environment for my research and teaching for the past more than thirty years.”
In Japan, decorations, medals and ranks are given to those who have rendered service to the nation or public, with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star one of the highest honors. The Japanese decoration system was established more than 120 years ago at the beginning of the Meiji period.
Curtis has been teaching at Columbia since receiving his Ph.D. in political science here in 1969. He served as director of the East Asian Institute (now called the Weatherhead East Asian Institute) for 14 years. Professor Curtis is the author of Election Campaigning Japanese Style, The Japanese Way of Politics, The Logic of Japanese Politics, and many other books and articles in both English and Japanese.
The conferment ceremony will be held on Jan. 12, 2005, at the Consul-General’s residence in New York City.