- June 1, 1980
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Biographical / Historical
Jean Morden (May 24, 1923 - January 1, 2010) was a translator and teacher of the Japanese language. She was born in Portland, OR and majored in languages at Stanford University. After graduation, she joined the Navy's Japanese Language School at the University of Colorado in the summer of 1943 and was then assigned to Naval Intelligence as a Language Officer in Washington, D.C during World War II. Later, Morden applied and was accepted to go to Japan as a civilian translator/interpreter with the Army in 1946, where she translated letters sent to MacArthur. Wanting to do something new, Morden applied and became a language teacher for the Army Education School, teaching the Japanese language to allied personnel. After about a year, she came back to the United States and married Major Roy Morden in 1948. Soon after, she received her master's degree in Japanese at the University of Washington. Morden taught French until 1974, when she began teaching Japanese at a Washington, D.C. high school, introducing the language into the curriculum. This was the first Japanese class in a public high school east of Mississippi. She is recognized for having the idea for the Japan Bowl, a national Japanese language competition for high school students sponsored by The Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. In 2003, Morden was awarded the Order of the Precious Crown Apricot, an Imperial Decoration from the Emperor of Japan, for her contributions. In 2010, Jean Morden passed away at the age of 86.