Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

Kenneth E. Colton papers

 Collection 0006-GWP

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.


  • 1917-1974
  • Majority of material found within 1945-1955

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Maryland Room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder. Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


27 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

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.

Biographical / Historical

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) [1955], 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.

Custodial History

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.

Related Materials

Kenneth Colton was interviewed twice by Marlene Mayo, professor emerita of the University of Maryland, for her oral history with Americans who served in Allied occupied Japan. Transcripts of both interviews are available at the Prange Collection website, and audio can be accessed from the Prange Collection through the Maryland Room.

Processing Information

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.

Guide to the Kenneth E. Colton papers
Processed by Danielle Wilkins. Reprocessed by Kirsten Gaffke in 2010.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742