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Theodore C. Bestor is a Professor of Anthropology and Japanese Studies at Harvard Universitymarker in Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Anthropology.

Previously, Bestor taught at Cornell Universitymarker and Columbia University, and was program director for Japanese and Korean studies at the Social Science Research Council.

Bestor has written widely on the culture and society of Japanmarker. Much of his research has focused on contemporary Tokyomarker, including an ethnography of daily life in an ordinary neighborhood, Miyamoto-cho. Since the early 1990s his primary research has concerned Tokyo's Tsukiji fish marketmarker where he has studied the economic anthropology of institutions, and has focused also on food culture, globalization, and Japan's fishing industry.

He is a past president of the American Anthropological Association's Society for Urban Anthropology and the Society for East Asian Anthropology (the latter of which he was founder and first president).

Bestor was born August 7, 1951, in Urbana, Illinoismarker. His father, Arthur Bestor, was a historian of American constitutionalism and his mother, Dorothy Alden Koch Bestor, was a professor of English literature. The family moved to Seattle in 1962. Bestor first visited Japan in 1967, when his father received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the University of Tokyomarker, Rikkyo Universitymarker, and Doshisha Universitymarker.

He grew up in Seattle and graduated from Fairhaven College in Bellingham, Washingtonmarker in 1973. Bestor received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford Universitymarker in 1983, after spending four years studying and doing research in Tokyo along the way. His wife, Victoria Lyon Bestor, is Executive Director of the North America Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources.


  • Doing Fieldwork in Japan, Theodore C. Bestor, Patricia G. Steinhoff, Victoria Lyon Bestor (co-editors), University of Hawai'i Press, 2003 (ISBN 0-8248-2734-1)
  • Neighborhood Tokyo, Theodore C. Bestor, Stanford University Press 1989 and Kodansha International 1990 (ISBN 0-8047-1797-4)
  • Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World, Theodore C. Bestor, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2004 (ISBN 0-520-22024-2)

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