Media Release  

Nov. 3, 2014

For Immediate Release

 Japanese Decoration Conferred Upon
Professor Emeritus of University of Toronto

University of Toronto Professor Emeritus Michael Donnelly was among the 57 foreign recipients of the 2014 Fall Imperial Decorations announced today by the Government of Japan.  Dr. Donnelly was awarded The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, for his contributions toward fostering greater understanding of Japan among Canadians, particularly in the field of political science, and for establishing infrastructure to facilitate Japan studies in Canada.

Dr. Donnelly’s interest in Japan first emerged when he went to the country to work in the American Naval Public Information Office from 1959 to 1961.  After a period of study focusing on East Asia and Japan, he obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1978.  He then came to the University of Toronto and became a pioneer in Japanese political studies, establishing courses on politics and society in contemporary Japan.  Over the subsequent 30 years until 2005 when he retired, he focused his career on researching Japanese politics, and on supporting the establishment of various institutions that related to Japan studies.

He served as Director, Acting Director and Co-Director of the former Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies at various times between 1986 and 2001.  In 2000, he became the Founding Director of the Asian Institute at what is now the Munk School of Global Affairs.  Dr. Donnelly was instrumental in the establishment of the Japan Studies Association of Canada, serving as its President from 1997 to 1998, and of the Canada-Japan Society, an organization devoted to grassroots exchange between the two countries.

He has lived in Japan as a visiting scholar several times since the early 1970s, holding positions at Keio University (1981-82), Meiji University (1989-90), Tsukuba University (1993), Japan Women’s University (1995-96) and Kwansei Gakuin University (2012), as well as the Institute of Developing Economies in Tokyo (1970-73 and 1981-82).  He has taught both Canadian and Japanese students, and continually supported research collaborations as well as academic exchanges.

Decoration: The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon

Name: Dr. Michael Donnelly, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Toronto
Service:   Fostered greater understanding of Japan among Canadians, and developed avenues for increased academic exchange between Japan and Canada.


Media contact: Rui Umezawa –; 416-306-1850