Tokyo-based reporter Jacob Schlesinger will receive award for his journalistic work and achievements spanning three decades
Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) is pleased to announce Wall Street Journal reporter Jacob Schlesinger as the 2014 recipient of the Shorenstein Journalism Award.
Schlesinger has been selected for his excellence in reporting on Japan’s economy, trade and politics, over a more than three-decade career in journalism. A Japan watcher since the late 1980s, Schlesinger incisively covered the nation at its economic height, the ‘boom’ period, through its ‘bust,’ as the financial system collapsed in the 1990s, and now, into an era that has seen signs of economic revival.
Commenting on the selection of Schlesinger for the award, Professor Daniel Okimoto, one of the leading American experts on Japanese political economy and a former director of Shorenstein APARC, said:
“Through the years, followers of Japan have had the benefit of being kept informed by a succession of first-rate journalists based in Tokyo, such as Bill Emmott (The Economist), author of “The Sun Also Sets,” and Gillian Tett (Financial Times), author of “Saving the Sun.” No foreign journalist has covered Japan longer, or understood its political economy more deeply, than Jacob M. Schlesinger (Wall Street Journal), author of “Shadow Shoguns.”
The Shorenstein Journalism Award, launched in 2002, is given to journalists who are outstanding in their reporting on Asia, and who have contributed significantly to Western understanding of the region. The award was originally designed to honor distinguished American journalists for their work on Asia, but since 2011, Shorenstein APARC re-envisioned the award 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. The award alternates between Western and Asian journalists.
The most recent award recipients were Aung Zaw, the founder of Burmese publication the Irrawaddy, and a pioneer of press freedom in that country, and Barbara Demick, the Los Angeles Times correspondent in Beijing and the author of ground-breaking studies of life in North Korea.
Schlesinger has covered Japan for the Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He is currently the Senior Asia Economics Correspondent and Central Banks Editor – Asia for the Journal, based in Tokyo. He came first to Japan as a reporter in the late 1980s, covering tech, trade and politics, and then reporting on Japan’s stock market crash and financial crisis, and the fallout that carried on through the mid-1990s, a period known as “the lost decade.”
Schlesinger then worked for 13 years in the Journal’s bureau in Washington DC, covering politics and the U.S. economy. He was part of the Journal’s team that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for the “What’s Wrong” series about the causes and consequences of the late-1990s financial bubble.
Schlesinger returned to Japan as the Japan editor/Tokyo bureau chief in 2009, overseeing the coverage of the historic transfer of power to the Democratic Party of Japan, and the triple disaster of the massive earthquake of March 2011 and the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster that resulted. He has since closely followed the return to power of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, and its leader Shinzo Abe, and his administration’s economic stimulus policy, known as ‘Abenomics,’ as well as growing tensions within the region.
Schlesinger is the author of the book, “Shadow Shoguns: The Rise and Fall of Japan’s Postwar Political Machine,” widely recognized as one of the most important works on Japan’s politicians, parties and the dramatic changes in its political order. Published in 1997, the book was hailed by Foreign Affairs as “a fascinating and penetrating tale.” He wrote the book while a visiting fellow at Shorenstein APARC.
Schlesinger will receive the award at a special ceremony at Stanford’s Bechtel Conference Center on March 9. He will also lead a panel discussion earlier that day examining the coverage of Japan’s economy, from boom to bust and back again, with Susan Chira, a former Tokyo correspondent and now deputy executive editor of The New York Times and Professor Takeo Hoshi, a prominent economist and director of Stanford’s Japan Program.
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Contact: Lisa Griswold, communications coordinator at Shorenstein APARC, with any questions about the award or the March 9 events.