On November 3 (Japan Standard Time), the Government of Japan announced the recipients of its Fall 2010 Decorations. From Los Angeles Consulate General jurisdiction, Dr. Peter Berton, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations, University of Southern California was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Ray with Neck Ribbon.
Dr. Berton is 88-year-old, and lives in Beverly Hills.
Professor Peter Berton was born in 1922 in Bialystok, Poland. At age six, he and his family moved to Harbin, China. After college, he went to Japan to study the violin with the world-renowned Alexander Moguilevsky and lived there for a number of years. During that time, he became fascinated with Japanese language and culture.
In 1950, he pursued graduate studies at the East Asian Institute, Columbia University. Professor Berton started the Asia-Pacific area studies program at the USC School of International Relations in 1962, and continued as coordinator for the next thirty years. He also developed the University’s first lecture course on Japan.
A prolific writer, he authored works on Japanese politics and foreign policy, Japanese international negotiation style, Japanese socio-cultural and psychological characteristics, and the territorial dispute between Japan and Russia.
In 1991, he served on a trilateral task force (Japan, Russia, and the United States) to promote the resolution of that dispute. In addition, he was the founding chairman of the Southern California Japan Seminar to bring together Japan specialists in the area.
Dr. Berton launched the annual lecture series on Japanese art in 1988 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in memory of his late wife Michele, who had a deep appreciation of Japanese culture and was a docent at the Museum. The lectures have been a success for over twenty years, introducing to the public the beauty of all aspects of Japanese arts.