- November 1, 1979
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Biographical / Historical
Edwin O. Reischauer (October 15, 1910 – September 1, 1990) was an author, scholar, diplomat, professor, and leading expert on East Asian affairs born in Tokyo, Japan to American Presbyterian educational missionaries. Growing up, he moved back and forth between the U.S. and Japan before attending Oberlin College. He went on to recieve his B.A. from Oberlin in 1929, his M.A. from Harvard in 1932, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1939. From 1939 to 1942, he taught Far Eastern languages at Harvard before the State Department and Army recruited him to work in the Office of Far Eastern Affairs as a lieutenant colonel in Japan. With the State Department, Reischauer acted as a Japan expert for the U.S. Army Intelligence Service. He left Japan in September of 1946 to return to Harvard. During this time, he was instrumental in developing a new curriculum in East Asian studies at the University. In 1949, he returned to Japan on a Cultural and Social Sciences Mission to discuss research and Japanese scholarship. He then came back to the Harvard to continue teaching both Far Eastern languages and Japanese history. He remained teaching at Harvard until 1980, except from 1961-1966, when he served as the United States Ambassador to Japan. In 1990, Edwin O. Reischauer passed away at the age of 79.