Skip to:

Former editor-in-chief of the "Asahi Shimbun" to receive 2015 Shorenstein Journalism Award


Yoichi Funabashi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 2012.
Photo credit: 
Flickr/World Economic Forum

Yoichi Funabashi, former editor-in-chief of the Asahi Shimbun, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Shorenstein Journalism Award. The award, given annually by Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC), is conferred to a journalist who has produced outstanding reporting on Asia and has contributed significantly to Western understanding of the region.

“Both as a correspondent in Beijing, Washington and Tokyo, and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and later as the editor of the Asahi Shimbun, Yoichi Funabashi set a standard for thoughtful, well-informed, excellent journalism,” said Orville Schell, a director at the Asia Society and member of the jury that selects the award. “In many ways, he was the heart and soul of what made the Asahi the great paper it is.

“But, even more impressive was the way that Yoichi became one of Japan’s most sophisticated and articulate cosmopolitan voices,” Schell continued. “Indeed, his linguistic ability and comfort in very diverse cultural contexts has made him one of Japan’s best and most persuasive international voices.”

“Yoichi Funabashi is one of the rare journalists whose deep knowledge of both sides of the Pacific have made him a recognized analyst and thinker in both Japan and the United States, and a valuable interpreter and interlocutor in both countries,” said Nayan Chanda, a jury member for the award and former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Thirteen journalists have received the Shorenstein award since its founding. Originally, the award was designed to honor distinguished American journalists, but since 2011, the award was re-envisioned to encompass Asian journalists who pave the way for press freedom, and have aided in the growth of mutual understanding between Asia and the United States. Among the award’s most recent recipients are Jacob Schlesinger, a senior foreign correspondent covering economics at the Wall Street Journal’s Tokyo bureau; Aung Zaw, the founder of Burmese publication the Irrawaddy; and Barbara Demick, the Los Angeles Times correspondent in Beijing and author of ground-breaking studies of life in North Korea.

Funabashi began his career as a correspondent for Japan’s leading newspaper the Asahi Shimbun in Beijing from 1980 to 1981 and later served for seven years in two stints in Washington, D.C. From 2007 to 2010, Funabashi served as the editor-in-chief of the Asahi.

Funabashi is the co-founder and chairman of the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a Tokyo-based think tank established in response to the Fukushima disaster of March 2011.

Funabashi is an acclaimed author/editor of many books on East Asia and the United States. Some of his English titles include: The Peninsula Question (Brooking Institution, 2007), Reconciliation in Asia-Pacific, ed. (U.S. Institute of Peace, 2003), and Alliance Adrift Council (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1998). Funabashi received a bachelor's degree from the University of Tokyo in 1968 and a doctorate from Keio University in 1992. He has held fellowships at universities and think tanks, including Harvard University and the Institute for International Economics.

Funabashi is a frequent contributor to publications such as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, New York Times, Washington Quarterly and Foreign Affairs. He is a contributing editor of Foreign Policy in Washington, D.C. In 1994, he won the Japan Press Award known as Japan’s “Pulitzer Prize” for his columns on international affairs.

Funabashi will receive the Shorenstein award at a special evening ceremony at Stanford’s Bechtel Conference Center on May 6. He will also lead a panel discussion earlier that day examining contemporary U.S.-Japan relations. The panel discussion is open to the public.

Please refer to the Shorenstein APARC website in the coming weeks for more detail about the upcoming events. Media related questions may be directed to Lisa Griswold, or (650) 736-0656.