Fred G. Notehelfer

Professor and Director,
UCLA Center for Japanese Studies

Fred G. Notehelfer was born to German Missionary parents in Japan in 1939. He grew up in Tokyo, graduated from the American School in Japan, and received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1962. His Ph.D. was taken at Princeton University in 1968 in Japanese History. After teaching briefly at Princeton he joined the UCLA History Department in 1969. From 1975-1995 he served as the UCLA Director of the USC-UCLA Joint Center in East Asian Studies and since 1992 he has directed the UCLA Center for Japanese Studies.

Notehelfer specializes in the late Tokugawa and Meiji periods. He is particularly interested in the social and intellectual history of Japan's transition from a "traditional" to a modern society. He is also interested in what Japanese have done with universal systems of thought imported into Japan from the West and Asia. His books include K_toku Sh_sui: Portrait of a Japanese Radical (Cambridge, 1971); American Samurai: Captain L.L Janes and Japan (Princeton, 1985); and Japan Through American Eyes, the Journal of Francis Hall, Kanagawa and Yokohama, 1859-1866 (Princeton, 1992). He has recently completed an abridged edition of the Francis Hall journal which has been published by Westview Press 2001.  Recent interests have also taken him into British art history, and hehas published an article, “John Constable and the Woodbridge Wits” in the Burlington Magazine, September 1999.  Several additional articles on John Constable and his paintings have been completed.   He has published numerous articles and reviews in the Journal of Japanese Studies, Monumenta Nipponica, the Journal of Asian Studies, and other Japan related publications. He contributed the essay on “Modern Japanese History” for the most recent Encyclopaedia Britannica . He is currently working on the role of the wealthy peasant class in the late Tokugawa-Meiji transition the part it played  in the Meiji Restoration. He has served as a visiting professor at Kyoto University, Doshisha University, and International Christian University in Japan and at the University of British Columbia, Canada.  He currently serves as the Director of the Board of the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama.

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