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Edwin O. Reischauer, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Dead at 79

September 1, 1990

LA JOLLA, Calif. (AP) _ Edwin Oldfather Reischauer, who served as U.S. ambassador to Japan during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, died Saturday from hepatitis. He was 79.

Reischauer died at Green Hospital of Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, the clinic said.

Ambssador to Japan from 1961 to 1966, Reischauer wrote several books on America’s relationship with Japan and Asia. Among his books are ″The Japanese Today: Change and Continuity,″ and ″Japan: The Story of a Nation.″

Reischauer was born in Tokyo to missionary parents on Oct. 15, 1910. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1931. He received a doctorate from Harvard University after studying at universities in France, Japan and China.

Reischauer first joined the Harvard staff as an instructor in 1938. He returned after World War II as an associate professor, later a professor of Far Eastern languages. He retired in 1981. He also was a director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute from 1956 to 1961.

During World War II, Reischauer served in the Far Eastern Affairs office in the State Department and the War Department, specializing in Japanese language training and intelligence.

As ambassador, Reischauer established contacts with opposition leaders, intellectuals, the media and students. He urged America to abandon its ″occupation mentality″ toward Japan as the nation began its emergence as an industrial power.

His books included ″East Asia: The Modern Transformation,″ 1965; ″Beyond Vietnam, the United States and Asia,″ 1967; ″The Japanese,″ 1977; and ″My Life between Japan and America,″ 1986.

For his work to promote better understanding between cultures, Reischauer was conferred Japan’s First Class Order of the Rising Sun in 1968.

Reischauer was a resident of Belmont, Mass., and La Jolla.

He is survived by his wife, Haru, who is related to Japanese royalty; a son, Robert Reischauer, director of the Congressional Budget Office; and daughters Ann Heinemann and Joan Simon.

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