Theodore C. Bestor

Theodore C. Bestor is Reischauer Institute Professor of Social Anthropology at Harvard University. He 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, and food culture as defining aspects of urban Japanese life. 

Bestor's major works include Neighborhood Tokyo (1989, Stanford University Press) and Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World (2004, University of California Press). He has been focusing on the market's closure in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and is currently working on the second edition of the book. He was a consultant for the documentary “Tsukiji Wonderland” (directed by Endo Naotaro, Shochiku 2016). His current research also focuses on Japanese food culture and, in particular, on the globalization of Japanese cuisine and its intense popularity throughout the world, as well as in UNESCO’s recognition of Japan’s traditional cuisine (washoku) as an item of Global Intangible Cultural Heritage. He conducted research on this topic as a recipient of a Fulbright Senior Fellowship in Japan in the Spring of 2015. Victoria Lyon Bestor and he also are currently researching the cultural history of distinctive Japanese flavors such as umami (the so-called “fifth flavor”).

He is the co-editor of Doing Fieldwork in Japan (2003, University of Hawaii Press) with Patricia G. Steinhoff, and Victoria Lyon Bestor and Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society (2011, Routledge), a collection of essays ranging widely over history, arts, humanities, and social sciences. 


He is the past Director of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies (2012-2018), 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 Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese government (文化庁長官表彰 文化発信部門). In 2017, Bestor received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from the Japanese government. Also, the American Anthropological Association’s Society of Urban, National, and Transnational Anthropology has presented him a “Lifetime Achievement Award” award in 2017.

Bestor received his Ph.D. 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 Harvard faculty in 2001.



主な著書に「Neighborhood Tokyo(1989年、Stanford University Press)、「Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World(2004年、University of California Press)。2020年東京オリンピックに向けた築地市場の閉場、移転にともない、「Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World」の続編を執筆中。 201610月に公開されたドキュメンタリー TSUKIJI WONDERLAND (築地ワンダーランド)」(監督:遠藤尚太郎、配給:松竹株式会社)の制作にあたりコンサルタントをつとめる。また近年の和食のグローバル化にも注目し、特に和食のユネスコ無形世界遺産登録による影響についてリサーチを進めており、2015年春にはフルブライトシニアフェローシップを受ける。また、ビクトリア・ライオン・ベスターと共同で「うま味」(第五の味覚)、日本の味覚の文化史についての研究を進めている。

共編著に「Doing Fieldwork in Japan (2003年、University of Hawai’i PressPatricia G. Steinhoff and Victoria Lyon Bestor)、「 Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society(2011年、 Routledge, Victoria Lyon Bestor and Akiko Yamagata) がある。

2000年、アメリカ人類学協会東アジア研究分科会を設立。2012-2013年、最大のアジア研究組織であるアジア研究協会会長を務める。2012 - 2018年、ライシャワー日本研究所所長。2013年夏、文化庁より「文化庁長官表彰 (文化発信部門 )」を受ける。2017年秋、日本政府より旭日章綬章受章。また同年、American Anthropological Association Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropologyより「Lifetime Achievement Award」を受賞。

1973年ウェスタンワシントン大学フェアヘブン校で学士を取得 (文化人類学、日本学、 言語学)。在学中アメリカ・カナダ大学連合日本研究センターにて日本語を学ぶ。スタンフォード大学より修士号、博士号を取得。その後、 米国社会科学研究評議会において日本韓国研究のスタッフディレクターを務めた後、コロンビア大学、コーネル大学で教鞭をとる。2001年ハーバード大学教授に就任。