Dr. Lars Vargö is former Swedish Ambassador to Japan (2011-14) and South Korea (2006-11). He holds a Ph.D. in Japanese studies (history) from the University of Stockholm (1982). He graduated from Uppsala University 1972 with a major in sinology. In 1972-76 he was a repeat Mombusho scholar at Kyoto University. As a diplomat Vargö has returned to Japan four times, but has also served in Libya, Lithuania and the United States. 2001-2005 he served as Ambassador and Head of the International Department of the Swedish Parliament.
Vargö has published a number of books on Japan in Swedish, mainly in the fields of history and literature, but is also the author of numerous articles in Swedish, English and Japanese. He has translated Japanese novels, short stories and poetry into Swedish. He is the founder of the Seoul Literary Society, as well as the Tokyo International Literary Society
Vargö has been decorated with the “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun” (2014), the “Kwanghwa Medal Order of Diplomatic Service” (2011) and the “Korean Red Cross Grand Taegug Award” (2007).
Visit Lars Vargö’s blog Japan-kommentarer on larsvargo.wordpress.com.
Publications by Lars Vargö
The BRI vs FOIP: Japan’s Countering of China’s Global Ambitions
Abstract With the Donald Trump administrated U.S. turning inwards, the world saw Japan taking a step forward on the global stage during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s tenure. Not only did […]
Close Partners or Hesitant Dreamers? The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA)
In July 2018, Japan and the EU signed both the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). The two agreements have been described as formally ushering in […]
The Dramatic Changes of the 20th Century
Today Japan is one of the world’s largest economies, but it is facing enormous challenges on a social, cultural, financial and political level. These challenges are highlighted and analysed in […]
Poems that Decode Japan’s Intellectual DNA: The Ambassador’s choice
Diplomats are perhaps thought of as having a limited interest in areas outside those that concern international relations, domestic political developments in the country where they have been stationed, bilateral […]
Korea – en civilisation i kläm
Korea är en civilisation som lätt förbises vid jämförelser med Kina och Japan. Men den koreanska kulturen är unik och har haft stort inflytande på sin omvärld. Tryckkonsten med lösa, […]
Bashô: Blommornas, fåglarnas och månens poet
Matsuo Bashô (1644–1694), oftast känd som bara Bashô, är utan jämförelse den mest citerade och kända japanska poeten någonsin och har fått status som något av en nationalskald. Alla skolbarn […]
Japan and North Korea: Toward Engagement for Regional Security
The current situation on the Korean Peninsula has invited debate on Japan’s perennial issue of constitutional revision. While this is a high-profile issue, other measures are needed to reduce tensions. […]
Remorse and Reform: Abe’s Stormy Spring
From apologizing for Japan’s wartime past to collective defense and FTA negotiations with the United States, Japan faces a number of contentious issues in the coming months that call into […]
Mending Sino-Japanese Relations
The meeting between Xi Jinping and Abe Shinzô on the sidelines of the APEC Summit—the first between the two leaders—represents a tentative step forward for Sino-Japanese relations. In spite of […]