Kenneth E. Colton (1913-1995) was a Professor of modern Japanese politics, whose interest in Japan began during his service for General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ/SCAP) during the Occupation of Japan, 1946-1952. In January 1946, he began work in G-2, Research and Analysis Section of the Civil Intelligence Section (CIS), researching Japanese political parties. He later joined the Civil Historical Section. His tenure with GHQ/SCAP ended in 1952 when the Occupation of Japan came to a close, but his interest in Japanese politics continued. He taught at Sophia University, the International Christian University (ICU), American University and Kent State University. The Kenneth E. Colton papers are comprised primarily of materials related to his work in Japan during the Occupation on Japanese political parties and figures, the Diet and elections.
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The Kenneth E. Colton papers span the years 1917-1974 and include correspondence, clippings, reports, photographs, manuscripts and memoranda related to Japanese political parties and figures, with a focus on the period 1945-1955.
Kenneth Elmer Colton, an identical twin, was born on February 3, 1913 in Des Moines, Iowa. He attended public schools in Des Moines, received an A.B. in History from Harvard College in 1936, an M.A. in History from the University of Iowa in 1942, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from American University in 1969. He served in the Signal Corps in New Guinea and the Philippines during World War II and was sent to Japan in late 1945. Discharged in January 1946, he began work as a civilian in G-2, Research and Analysis Section of the Civil Intelligence Section (CIS) of General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ/SCAP) that same month. His research focused on Japanese political parties. In 1950, he began work in the Civil Historical Section. He continued to work for GHQ/SCAP until 1952, when the Occupation of Japan ended.
He remained in Japan after the Occupation and taught at Sophia University [1953-1954] and at the ICU (International Christian University) , both in Tokyo. Later, he worked at the United States Department of Defense on Area Studies -- Southeast Asia. From 1966 until his retirement in 1982, he was a Professor of Political Science at Kent State University. He taught courses on U.S. foreign policy, international relations, and Japanese, Chinese and Southeast Asian government. His wife, Hattie Kawahara Colton (1921-2008), spent much of her career at the Foreign Service Institute as a Far East Specialist and retired as Associate Dean.
Kenneth Colton died on June 6, 1995.
The Kenneth E. Colton papers were donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by Kenneth Colton’s wife, Hattie Kawahara Colton, on September 22, 1998. Additional materials were donated by David Colton, Dr. Colton’s son, on August 11, 2010.
The original organization of the materials was maintained. The vast majority of the materials were in folders that were labeled by Kenneth Colton. The collection was placed in acid-free folders and then in acid-free boxes. Notations on the original file folders were written on the new folders, and the old folders were retained. Clips and pins were removed. Photographs and fragile items were placed in mylar sleeves.