In November 2017 the Japanese Government announced that Theodore C. Bestor, Reischauer Institute Professor of Social Anthropology at Harvard University was awarded the decoration of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.
A leading US scholar of Japan, Bestor is a specialist on contemporary Japanese society and culture; much of his research focuses on Tokyo, and he has written widely on urban culture and history, local neighborhood society and identity, markets and economic organization, food culture, and popular culture as a defining aspect of urban Japanese life.
He is the Past President of the Association for Asian Studies (2012-13), and the founding president of the Society for East Asian Anthropology. In June 2013 Bestor received the Commissioner’s Award for the Promotion of Japanese Culture from the Japanese Government Agency for Cultural. In October 2017, he was honored as the inaugural “Senior Scholar” award from the Society of Urban, National, and Transnational Anthropology (SUNTA) section of the American Anthropological Association.
Bestor received his PhD and MA from Stanford University, and his BA from Fairhaven College of Western Washington University. He began his professional career as Program Director for Japanese and Korean Studies at the Social Science Research Council. After teaching at Columbia and Cornell universities, he joined the faculty at Harvard University in 2001.