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date: 24 August 2019

Reischauer, Edwin Oldfatherlocked

(15 October 1910–01 September 1990)
  • Akira Iriye

Extract

Reischauer, Edwin Oldfather (15 October 1910–01 September 1990), educator and diplomat, was born in Tokyo, Japan, the son of August Karl Reischauer, a missionary of long residence in Japan, and Helen Sidwell. He lived in Japan until his graduation from the American School in Tokyo in 1927. That year, Reischauer entered Oberlin College, where he earned an A.B. degree, and from there went to Harvard University for graduate study. By the time he entered Harvard, in 1931, he knew that he wanted to become an expert in East Asian studies; in order to receive further specialized training, which was not then available in the United States, he went in 1933 to the University of Paris, where he continued his study of Japanese and Chinese. Two years later he returned to Japan to conduct research for his dissertation. The contrast between the more open, cosmopolitan Japan he remembered from the 1920s and the militaristic and chauvinistic Japan he experienced in the 1930s made a deep impression on Reischauer and provided the point of departure for his thinking about modern Japanese history. For the time being, however, he concentrated on his studies, working on a translation of the diary of Ennin, a ninth-century Buddhist monk who traveled and studied in China. While in Japan, Reischauer married Adrienne Danton, an alumna of Oberlin, in 1935. They were to have three children....

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