Some UCSB students studying politics or East Asian cultures will be beginning class next quarter with Kazuhiko Togo – Japan’s former ambassador to the Netherlands – as their professor.

According to a Political Science Dept. press release, Togo will teach one course in East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies during Winter Quarter, and will co-teach another course in political science – called “Foreign Policy Between Japan and post-Soviet Russia” – with professor Robert Hinckley. In addition, Togo will be teaching additional political science and history courses during Spring Quarter.

“He can provide practical insights into the workings of government and foreign relations, drawing on his extensive international resources,” Hinckley said.

Political Science Undergraduate Program Coordinator Steve Wiener said he believes the appointment will be a valuable experience for students.

“Ambassador Togo’s arrival presents a great opportunity for students to learn from his extensive government and academic experience,” said Wiener.

History Professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa said Ambassador Togo gained political prominence during the 1980s, when he headed the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Soviet desk.

“He was the architect of Japanese policy towards the Soviet Union during the ’80s and early ’90s,” Hasegawa said. “He applied an innovative approach to the territorial dispute between Japan and Russia.”

In 2002, Togo was dismissed from his position with the Japanese Foreign Ministry and became a lecturer and researcher for Princeton University’s East Asian Studies Dept.

Hasegawa said that when he heard Togo was available to teach at academic institutions, he launched a concerted effort with Political Science Dept. Chair John Woolley to bring the former ambassador to Santa Barbara.

In the press release, Woolley said he was enthused about Togo’s imminent arrival.

“His appointment is a superb opportunity that will provide great benefits,” Woolley said. “As Public Policymaker in Residence, Ambassador Togo will bring to campus a wealth of experience in Japanese foreign policy, Japanese-Soviet relations, ocean and fisheries policy and international energy and economic policy.”

Hasagawa said Togo’s tenure at UCSB will culminate this spring with a conference titled “Historical Memories: Resurgence of Nationalism in East Asia.”