Edwin O. Reischauer
East Asian Scholar & U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Edwin Oldfather Reischauer, through his mother, was a descendant of three of the pioneers of Rice's Fort, Donegal Twp., Washington Co., PA- Heinrich Vollenweider (Henry Fullenwider), Jacob Rice (Reis), and Jacob Leffler.
His parents were Rev. August Karl Reischauer and Helen Sidwell Oldfather, Presbyterian educational missionaries in Japan. August was a professor at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and helped found Tokyo Women's Christian College. Helen founded the Japan School for the Deaf.
Edwin had an older brother, Robert Karl Reischauer, who was accidentally killed in Shanghai in 1937 when the Chinese planes attacking Japanese warships accidentally hit his hotel. He died from blood loss because of inadequate medical care. Edwin also had a sister Felicia, who, according to August's obituary, was unmarried and living near Edwin in Massachusetts in their older years.
Edwin was raised in Japan and attended the American School in Tokyo, then attended Oberlin College in Ohio. Afterwards he went to Harvard, where he later taught. He was not only a scholar of Japanese language and culture, but also of Chinese and Korean.
He married first, in 1935, Adrienne Danton, an American raised in China, and also a scholar. They had three children, Ann (Reischauer) Heinemann, who lived in California; Robert Danton Reischauer, who lived in Washington, D.C., and Joan Reischauer, who lived in Massachusetts.
Adrienne died in 1955. In 1956 Edwin married Haru Matsutaka, a Japanese journalist and descendant of eminent Japanese families.
In 1961 Edwin Reischauer was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan by President John F. Kennedy. He was very popular and well known in Japan and helped heal relations between Japan and the U.S. in the post-WWII era. He wrote many books about Japan.
On a personal note, I went to Japan to teach English in 1980. At that time almost the only books available in English about modern Japan were those written by Edwin O. Reischauer, who was a household name in Japan. The whole Japanese nation mourned his death in 1990. I had returned to the U.S. in 1988 and was astounded to find that Reischauer was not so widely known in America.--Cathy Sato, Dec. 2008
Edwin Olfather Reischauer (1910-1990)
Parents: August Karl Reischauer & Helen Sidwell Oldfather
Helen's Parents: Rev. Jeremiah M. Oldfather & Felicia Narcissa Rice
Narcissa's Parents: Isaac Anderson Rice & his cousin Elizabeth J. Rice
Isaac Anderson Rice's parents were Jacob Rice, son of Daniel Rice and Ann Margaret Leffler, and Mary (Polly) Cooper, daughter of William Cooper and Mary Fullenwider.
Elizabeth J. Rice was the daughter of Isaac Rice, son of Daniel Rice & Anne Margaret Leffler, and Narcissa Montague Allen.
Daniel Rice was the son of Rice's Fort Jacob Rice and his wife Ann. Daniel's wife Anne Margaret Leffler was the daughter of pioneers Jacob Leffler and Elizabeth Hewitt.
Mary Fullenwider, wife of William Cooper, was the daughter of pioneer Henry Fullenwider (Heinrich Vollenweider).
Narcissa Montague Allen was the daughter of James Allen and Elizabeth Logan. Her sister, Lavinia Allen, married Eleazer Fullenwider, son of Jacob, son of Henry (Heinrich).
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