Fred Notehelfer: Honored for Leadership in Japanese Studies





Fred G. Notehelfer directed the UCLA Center for Japanese Studies for 16 years and co-directed an East Asian Studies consortium in Southern California for 20 years. He will continue teaching at UCLA for another year before retiring.

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As a graduate student in history, Gordon Berger came across a publication in the Yale library that he says was "kept under lock and key." It was called the Harvard East Asian Research Center Papers on Japan. After receiving permission, he read in it "a remarkably erudite paper" written by Fred G. Notehelfer, a scholar of his own generation.

"The paper was already addressing one of the leitmotifs of his career-long interest in examining how the universal values of western civilization have been encountered and integrated, or not, into the Japanese experience," Berger said at a May 19, 2007, symposium honoring Notehelfer's 16-year tenure as director of the Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, which hosted the event at UCLA. "It is an issue that reverberates through virtually all of Fred's scholarship."

Berger and his USC colleague Jonathan Reynolds; UCLA's William Bodiford, Seiji Lippit, and Donald McCallum; and Eiichiro Azuma and Cameron Hurst, both of the University of Pennslyvania, discussed topics ranging from Japanese history, religion, art, and literature in honor of Notehelfer.

McCallum, acting director of the Terasaki Center for the past two quarters, said the symposium should be considered a celebration of Notehelfer's achievements, not a farewell.

"It is not a retirement. You don't retire from directorships," he said. "Fred in fact will continue to teach at UCLA next year, so in essence it is a celebration."


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