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That said, even intellectual opponents remember him as a generous-spirited man—a striking contrast to many of the other denizens of the intellectual alligator swamp that is Japanese studies. Hall, author of Bamboozled; and Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Although Reischauer was born and brought up in Japan, he had never lived there as an adult, and his childhood had been spent mainly among foreigners.

In This Review

It is a fair bet that his feel for s Japan was not nearly as sure as his boosters have often suggested. Certainly Packard does little to counter revisionist doubts on this score. That said, Reischauer certainly had some premonition of the train wreck ahead.

As Reischauer was the first to realize, any serious policy of suppressing consumption almost by definition implied a mercantilist approach to trade. Certainly before he left Japan in the summer of , it had drawn broadly level with Britain. Thus the time had surely come for Washington to press the Japanese for the same sort of trade reciprocation it had long expected from the British.

On his return to the United States, Reischauer generally endorsed the Tokyo line even as Japanese mercantilism moved to the front pages. In spite of all this, or perhaps more correctly because of it, his reputation soared in many quarters. In , Harvard named its Japan Institute after him. To uninformed American readers, this seemed like a devastating indictment, but Reischauer knew better. The Detroit companies had always, via subsidiaries in Europe, produced an impressive range of cars for drive-on-the-left markets.

Although these cars —many of them made in Germany to superb engineering standards— were eminently saleable in Japan, they had always been frozen out.


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In any case, Japanese buyers of foreign cars are a group apart, who actually prefer to have the steering wheel on the wrong side. This has great snob appeal in a country where, thanks to high trade barriers, foreign cars are often priced up to twice as much as the locally produced equivalents. In fact, the book is marred by several rather revealing factual errors.

The first significant overall deficit did not appear until , and even then another decade was to pass before the deficits became baked in. Packard breaks new ground in some of his more personal observations. He knew better than almost anyone that the American effort was doomed. But he kept quiet for fear any challenge to the pro-war crowd would weaken his ability to influence Japan policy. His spinelessness contrasted sharply with the spunk with which John Kenneth Galbraith, the contemporaneous ambassador to India, denounced the war.

Trade apart, another key topic conspicuously overlooked in this book is the extent to which East Asian studies programs at American universities have come to depend on corporate donations for funding.

About the Author

Instead, he was among the first to embrace it. In so doing, he gave vital cover to hundreds of less august—and less wealthy—institutions. The problem for American universities is, of course, that few corporate donors are entirely disinterested and this applies in spades in East Asian studies. Self-censorship is hard to prove in any particular case but the overall pattern is clear. When did Harvard last do a serious study on the Japanese car market?

Unfortunately, where self-censorship is concerned, few observers are less likely to spill the beans on their East Asian studies peers than Packard himself.

Edwin O Reischauer And The American Discovery Of Japan - ZIP

He is, after all, president of the United States-Japan Foundation, a controversial grant-giving institution endowed by the late Ryoichi Sasakawa. Perhaps most controversially of all, Sasakawa never expressed remorse for his wartime activities.

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Sasakawa money is terribly tainted, but that has not stopped dozens of top American educational institutions, not least allegedly Harvard, from sticking their erstwhile snooty snouts in the trough. Edwin O. Reischauer, as a pivotal force in U. Reischauer the U. Ambassador to Japan.

Already deeply intimate with the country, Reischauer hoped to. Reischauer the ador to Japan. Already deeply intimate with the country,Reischauer hoped to establish. Editorial Reviews. Jeff Kingston Japan Times This reliable, intimate story of one of the great American citizens of the twentieth century is a. Edwin Reischauer was a pioneering American scholar of Japan at Harvard from to , with time off to serve as U.

Reischauer, Edwin O. (Edwin Oldfather) [WorldCat Identities]

Edwin O. Packard, George. Reischauer and the American Discovery of Japan. Add to Cart. Reischauer and the American Discovery of Japan book. Read 2 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. In , President Kennedy n. Already deeply intimate with the country, Reischauer. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies in his honor when he turned 75, in..


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  • George R. Packard | United States-Japan Foundation.

Packard, George R. In this biography of scholar and diplomat Edwin O. Reischauer, Packard explores Reischauer's critical role in the history of U.

The Asian American Century The Edwin O Reischauer Lectures

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