This interview with Michio Hatanaka is the first in this series given in the East, of which we are very proud. Hatanaka is a pioneer of econometrics in Japan. In the early 1950s he traveled to the United States to study as a graduate student at Vanderbilt University. That step was really unusual in the Japanese profession at that time. His stay in the States was extended to 1966, during which time he taught at Princeton and Rochester. His pathfinding behavior influenced and encouraged many Japanese scholars. Hatanaka started his academic career as a mathematical economist. This may partly explain why his research papers suggest deep economic thought as well as deep understanding of mathematics and statistics. His early contributions to econometrics are concerned with applying the spectral method to various economic problems. These contributions include the associate authorship of Spectral Analysis of Economic Time Series by C. W. J. Granger. His other contributions cover theoretical work on identification and estimation problems for dynamic econometric models, among which Hatanaka's efficient two-step estimator is well known. His research also includes empirical work on the Japanese economy and economic policy, which is relatively less known to people outside of Japan. His attitude toward research has set a standard for Japanese econometricians. His research papers are always a product of deep and full thought, and imbued with his own originality.
His achievements in administration are also impressive. During 1969–1971 and 1979–1980, he was director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research of Osaka University. And during 1983–1985 he was the dean of the faculty of economics at the same university. In addition, he served on the boards of several committees for the Japanese government and the Council of Science of Japan. Among his achievements in administration is the reform of the university entrance examination system, which was notoriously competitive and selective. This was really pathbreaking and led other universities to reform their systems.
This interview, which was given in Japanese, took place on November 20, 1989 in the Economics Department of Osaka University. What follows is a translated version of an edited transcript of that interview. We hope that the readers will share with us the privilege of hearing about the evolution of econometrics as encountered by him since just after the second world war.