June, 2010 — Japanologist Herbert E. Plutschow suddenly passed away on June 24 in Chiba, Japan at the age of 70.
An emeritus professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, Herbert Plutschow spent 32 years at UCLA, teaching Japanese literature, cultural history, folklore, classical Japanese, and kanbun.
A world authority in Japanese travel diaries—a field that he developed before it became known in Japan, Plutschow was an extremely popular teacher and a well-known master of the Urasenke tradition of tea ceremony.
A native of Switzerland, he was educated at the École Nationale des Langues Orientales in Paris (B.A.), Waseda University (M.A.), and Columbia University (Ph.D.).
Plutschow authored over 20 books, many of which also appeared in Japanese.
After retiring from UCLA in 2005, he joined Josai International University in Chiba as Dean of the Faculty of International Humanities.
The memorial service took place on June 29 at St. Ignatius Church in Kōjimachi, Tokyo. The eulogy was delivered by the president of Josai International University, Professor Noriko Mizuta, and by Plutschow’s beloved teacher, Professor Donald Keene.
The tragic news of the sudden passing of Plutschow profoundly saddens the UCLA community.