Minoru (Ben) Makihara, 1930-2020

Dear Asia Center Community,

It is with great sadness that we convey the news of the passing of Minoru (Ben) Makihara (1930-2020) on December 13th, 2020 in Tokyo. Mr. Makihara graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and remained devoted to the university throughout his life. Upon returning to Japan, he spent his career in leadership positions at Mitsubishi Corporation.  Mr. Makihara was tireless in his efforts to raise the initial funds that led to the founding of the Harvard University Asia Center. In the words of William C. Kirby (Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies, and Chairman, Harvard China Fund), “Ben Makihara was part of a pioneering generation of post-war Japanese who went abroad for education and returned home to transform their country.  He was a dedicated alumnus of Harvard College, and he worked closely with President Neil Rudenstine, Professor Ezra Vogel, and myself to raise the founding endowment for the University’s new Asia Center, which studies Asia across its national and cultural boundaries.” Over the years, Mr. Makihara remained committed to furthering Harvard’s ongoing engagement with Asia and we are currently discussing plans to honor this long-time friend of the Asia Center.


James Robson
Victor and William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center

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