By Lorena Olvera
Close family members of the late political scientist Hans H. Baerwald, "the pioneer of Japanese studies at UCLA," have endowed a graduate fellowship in his name with a donation of $350,000, announced Terasaki Center Director Michael Thies at gathering in Baerwald's honor on Monday, Oct. 25 at the Faculty Center. With additional generous donations coming in to the UCLA fund in Baerwald's memory, a first graduate fellow is expected to receive support in 2011–12.
From left, at the Oct. 25 event, are David Baerwald, Jennifer Baerwald, Jan Baerwald and Andrea Lindgren.
The donors, Jennifer Baerwald, widow of the Japanese-born professor, and his three children, Andrea Lindgren, Jan Baerwald and David Baerwald, were distinguished guests at the gathering, which featured remarks by UCLA colleagues and a keynote address by Sam Jameson, a veteran journalist and longtime friend of Baerwald.
UCLA Chancellor Emeritus Charles E. Young recalled his late friend as "one of the dearest people at UCLA," and former longtime Terasaki Center Director Fred Notehelfer applied the label of Japan studies "pioneer." “We would not be anywhere near where we are in Japanese studies today, nor in the Center for Japanese Studies, if it hadn’t been for his dedicated work,” said Notehelfer, who came from his home in Canada for the event.
Baerwald, a renowned scholar of Japanese politics, joined UCLA during a period in which leadership and community-building skills were not only valued, but required if UCLA was to make headway in the field, according to Notehelfer. Undeterred by UC Berkeley's long head start, Baerwald co-founded the Southern California Japan Seminar and later worked with Chancellor Young to establish the Japan Research and Exchange Program. By procuring a gift from the Sasakawa group for the program, Baerwald laid the early groundwork the development of the UCLA Center for Japanese Studies, founded in 1991.
Before the audience of about 60, Thies reaffirmed that the training of graduate students is "far and away" the most important activity undertaken by the center, which also hosts frequent Japan-related events, designs undergraduate courses and supports library acquisitions.
Jameson, the former Tokyo Bureau Chief for The Los Angeles Times and a close friend of Baerwald, delivered a keynote lecture at the event on “The United States and Japan: Can a Hawk and Dove Remain Allies?” He reviewed the Futenma Base conflict and other sources of disagreement on security issues between the United States and Japan.
Longstanding tensions with locals over the disruptiveness of U.S. bases, which together occupy 20 percent of Okinawa's land, hit their peak in 1995 after two American marines and one sailor based at the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station kidnapped and raped a 12-year-old Okinawan girl. The incident led to an agreement on returning Futenma to Japan and relocating the base to the less-populated Okinawan area of Henoko Bay, but the plan has met with strong opposition.
“Every political unit in Okinawa is opposed to the bases in general, but especially Futenma and the replacement,” said Jameson, who has covered Japan for five decades.
Although the issue continues to be a sore point, a greater concern for the United States is the effectiveness of antimissile defenses installed on the island for mutual protection against North Korea, should the nuclear country develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) capable of hitting Hawaii.
Aside from technical hurdles, a constitutional impediment prevents Japan from using the system to aid the United States, at least in the view of Japan’s Cabinet Legislative Bureau, which provides counsel on proposed legislation. Article IX of the Japanese constitution prohibits the country from making an act of war, and the United States, under the security alliance signed between the countries, is understood to offer military protection to Japan without reciprocation.
But with Japan’s stance relaxing to make exceptions for self-defense, the alliance leans heavily in its favor. "More give and take is necessary in the relationship," said Jameson, suggesting that the country famed for withholding opinions could offer the United States valuable advice on Asia.