Sir Arthur Henry Hugh Cortazzi, (2 May 1924 – 14 August 2018) was a GCMG British diplomat. He was also a distinguished international businessman, academic, author and prominent Japanologist. He was Ambassador from the United Kingdom to Japan (1980–84), President of the Asiatic Society of Japan (1982–1983) and Chairman of the Japan Society of London (1985–95).
Early life [ ]
In 1998 Cortazzi published his autobiography,
Japan and Back, and Places Elsewhere. Cortazzi was educated at  Sedbergh School, St Andrews and London universities. He served in the Royal Air Force from 1943 to 1947. He began in the RAF as an Aircraftman 2nd Class and took a six-month crash course in Japanese, taught by the School of Oriental and African Studies, at that time based at Dulwich College. Cortazzi was granted a wartime commission in the rank of  Pilot Officer in June 1945. He was promoted to  Flying Officer in December 1945, and left the service in 1947, after which he joined the Foreign Office. 
Diplomatic career [ ]
After the War, the
British Foreign Office posted Cortazzi to Singapore (1950–1951) and to Tokyo, (1951–1954). After returning to Whitehall (1954–1958), he was posted to Bonn (1958–1960). Another stint in Tokyo (1961–1965) preceded his return to London (1965–1966). Another posting in Tokyo (1966–1970) was followed by a different kind of opportunity at the Royal College of Defence Studies (1971–1972), after which he was posted to Washington, D.C. (1972–1975).
In 1975, Cortazzi was appointed Deputy Under-Secretary of State. The next few years in the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1975–1980) preceded his appointment as Her Majesty's Ambassador to Japan in 1980. In 1980, Sir Hugh was elevated to the rank of  Knight Commander the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George. He spent the next four years in Tokyo.
Businessman [ ]
Sir Hugh retired from public service after his years as
British ambassador to Japan, but in private life, he has continued to work promoting better Anglo-Japanese relations. In addition to the books he has since written or ed, he has regularly carved out time to write reviews and a recurring column in the . Japan Times
In 2006, Sir Hugh's translation of the Japanese
Crown Prince Naruhito's account of his time at Oxford was published as The Thames and I.
Sir Hugh diversified his experiences with time spent as a Director of Hill Samuel & Co., later Hill Samuel Bank (1984–1991). He has been a Director of Director: Foreign and Colonial Pacific Trust since 1984; a Director of GT Japan Investment Trust since 1984; and a Director of Thornton Pacific (formerly Pacific) Investment Trust since 1986. Since 1992 he has served as Senior Adviser to a number of Japanese multi-national businesses with significant interests in the United Kingdom—such as, NEC Corporation, Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank, Bank of Kyoto.
Sir Hugh was a member of the
Economic and Social Research Council (1984–1989); a member of the Council and Court, University of Sussex (1985–1992); and Honorary Fellow of Robinson College, University of Cambridge, (1988).
He died on 14 August 2018 at the age of 94.
Honours [ ]
Selected works [ ]
Sir Hugh has written, ed, translated or contributed to a number of books on the history of
Anglo-Japanese relations, and Japanese history or culture. He has also written articles on Japanese themes in English and Japanese publications. 
In a statistical overview derived from writings by and about Hugh Cortazzi,
OCLC/ WorldCat encompasses roughly 60+ works in 100+ publications in 4 languages and 4,000+ library holdings.
Japan in Late Victorian London: The Japanese Native Village in Knightsbridge and 'The Mikado', 1885, Sainsbury Institute, 2009 ISBN 954-592-115-3 2009 – Introduction to
, lulu.com A Diplomat in Japan Part II: The Diaries of Sir Ernest Satow, 1870-1883 2007 –
Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, vol. VI. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. [reprinted by University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2007. ISBN 978-190-524633-5 (cloth)] 2005 –
Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, vol. V. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. ISBN 978-1-901903-48-5 (cloth) 2003 –
London: Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, vol. IV. Curzon. ISBN 978-190-335014-0 (Cloth) 2001 –
British Envoys in Japan, 1859–1972. Folkestone, Kent: Japan Library. ISBN 1-901903-51-6. 2001 –
, Folkestone Kent: Japan Experiences : Fifty Years, One Hundred Views Post-War Japan Through British Eyes, 1945-2000 Japan Library. ISBN 978-190-335004-1 (cloth) 2000 –
, vol. II; London: Routledge. Collected Writings of Sir Hugh Cortazzi ISBN 1-873410-96-4 (cloth) 1998 –
[reprinted Japan and Back and Places Elsewhere University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2000; ISBN 978-1-901-90320-1 (cloth)] 1995 –
(with Terry Bennett). Boston: Caught in Time: Japan Weatherhill; ISBN 978-0-834-80343-5 (cloth) 1994 –
New York: Paul & Co. Publishers Consortium; Japan. ISBN 978-187-393855-3 1993 –
[reprinted by Modern Japan: a concise survey Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, 2006; ISBN 978-0-333-54340-5 (paper)] 1992 –
(with Gordon Daniels). London: Routledge; Britain and Japan 1859-1991: Themes and Personalities ISBN 978-0-415-05966-4 (cloth) 1990 –
The Japanese Achievement: a short history of Japan and Japanese culture. London: Sidgwick & Jackson; ISBN 0-283-99647-1 [reprinted by Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire: 1990; ISBN 978-0-312-04237-0 (cloth)] 1988 –
, (with George Webb); London: Kipling's Japan Continuum International; ISBN 978-0-485-11348-8 (cloth) 1987 –
, London: Victorians in Japan: in and around the Treaty Ports Continuum International; ISBN 978-0-485-11312-9 (cloth) 1987 –
, Tokyo: Japanese Encounter Eichosha Shinsha 1987 –
Zoku, Higashi no Shimaguni, Nishi no Shimaguni 1986 –
(essays). Tokyo: Second Thoughts Eichosha Shinsha 1985 –
, London: Dr. Willis in Japan, 1862–1877: British Medical Pioneer Athlone Press/ Continuum International; ISBN 978-0-485-11264-1 (cloth) 1984 –
Higashi No Shimaguni, Nishi No Shimaguni (collection of articles and speeches in Japanese) 1984 –
, Tokyo: For Japanese students of English: Thoughts from a Sussex Garden (essays) Eichosha Shinsha 1983 –
Boston: Weatherhill; Isle of Gold: Antique Maps of Japan ISBN 978-0-834-80184-4 (cloth) 1980 –
The Lucky One and Other Humorous Stories 1972 – The Guardian God of Golf and other humorous stories [reprinted as The Lucky One, 1980]
Hiro no Miya Naruhito. (tr., Hugh Cortazzi). Folkestone, Kent: The Thames and I: A Memoir Of Two Years At Oxford Global Oriental. 2000 – Shillony, Ben-Ami.
(eds., Collected Writings of Ben-Ami Shillony Carmen Blacker and Hugh Cortazzi). London: Routledge; ISBN 1-873410-99-9 (cloth) 1991 –
East, Sir Alfred. (ed., Hugh Cortazzi) - reprinted by Weatherhill, Boston, 1997. A British Artist in Meiji Japan ISBN 978-1-873-04705-7 (cloth)] 1991 – Brunton, Richard Henry.
(ed., Hugh Cortazzi). Folkestone Kent: Building Japan, 1868–1876 Japan Library; ISBN 978-1-873-41005-9 (cloth) 1985 – Algernon Bertram Freeman-
Mitford. (ed., Hugh Cortazzi). London: Athlone Press/Continuum International; Mitford's Japan: Memories and Recollections, 1866-1906 ISBN 978-0-485-11275-7 (cloth)) [reprinted by Global Oriental, Folkestone, Kent, 2003; ISBN 978-1-903-35007-2 (paper)] 1982 –
Fraser, Mary Crawford Fraser. (ed., Hugh Cortazzi). Boston: Weatherhill; A Diplomat's Wife in Japan: Sketches at the Turn of the Century ISBN 0-8348-0172-8 (cloth) 1972 – Keita Genji. (tr., Hugh Cortazzi). Tokyo: The Ogre and other stories of the Japanese Salarymen Japan Times.
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