REPORT: Conversation with Dr. Ezra Vogel and Dr. David Plath

Two renowned Japan scholars, Dr. Ezra Vogel (Professor Emeritus at Harvard University) and Dr. David Plath (Professor Emeritus at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) openly conversed about their early fieldwork experiences in Japan in the 1950s – 1960s. The event celebrated the fourth and the final Midwest Japan Seminar (MJS) for 2018-2019 chaired by Dr. Elizabeth D. Lublin at Wayne State University. The event was hosted by Dr. Anne Sokolsky at Ohio Wesleyan University, where Dr. Vogel continues his support for students and scholars as an alumnus.

The conversation (taidan) was attended by scholars at different stages in their academic career, studying Japan in their various disciplines. During the dialogue, Dr. Vogel and Dr. Plath reflected on their trajectory as pioneers in the field of Japanese Studies, and how cross-cultural fieldwork experiences impacted their lives. In response to some questions on the sustainability of Japanese Studies and future career paths for emerging scholars, the professors further discussed strategies to connect their research with the interests of a wider audience, among others. Funding for the MJS was provided in part by The Japan Foundation’s Institutional Project Support-Small (IPS-Small) grant program.