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Message-Id: <199710311734.MAA37244@h-net.msu.edu>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 09:34:50 -0800
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@h-net.msu.edu>
From: Frank Conlon <conlon@u.washington.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: John Whitney Hall, 1916-1997
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ASIA <H-ASIA@H-NET.MSU.EDU>

John Whitney Hall, 1916-1997

Obituary by Frank F. Conlon <conlon@u.washington.edu>, H Asia, 31 October 1997

John Whitney Hall, a distinguished and influential pioneer of Japanese history in the United States, died from the effects of Parkinson's Disease in Tucson, Arizona on October 21. He was 81.

Although my own field is at a remove from Japanese history, and others will be able to write memorials more grounded in the essential field of personal knowledge and friendship, this note may serve at least to alert the H-ASIA membership of the passing of one of the giants of our scholarly enterprise.

John Whitney Hall's scholarship on pre-modern Japan transformed the profession's understanding of long-term developments of that society and civilization. Further, Hall was among those who actively promoted the growth of Japanese Studies in the United States. Serving on the faculties of the University of Michigan (1948-1961) and thereafter at Yale University, he trained a substantial number of the graduate students who went on to fill and define the field of Japanese historical and cultural studies. My own colleague Kenneth Pyle was one of that distinguished company.

John Hall was born in Kyoto in 1916, the son of missionaries. He trew up in Japan until returning to America for secondary education at Phillips Andover Academy. His undergraduate work majored in American Studies at Amherst College, but with a concentration on comparing the U. S. and Japan.

After completing his baccalaureate degree, he spent two years at Doshisha University, and then went to Harvard to pursue doctoral studies under a relatively obscure young faculty member, Edward Reischauer.

During Hall's years at the University of Michigan, he became director of the Center for Japanese Studies, establishing a field research station in Okayama. Hall's own research turned in the early 1950s to a careful study of pre-Meiji documents leading to publication in 1955 of _Tanuma Okitsugu, 1719-1788: Forerunner of Modern Japan_, thereby contributing to the growing reinterpretation of the Tokugawa period as containing many seeds of Japan's modernization.

In 1966, after his move to Yale, Hall published what became arguably his most influential work, _Government and local power in Japan, 500 to 1700; a study based on Bizen Province_. Hall continued his scholarly contributions, including serving as general editor of the _Cambridge History of Japan_ and contributing the volume on Early Modern Japan.

John Hall was an active promoter of the study and understanding in the United States of Japanese history and culture. He compiled a guide to published materials on Japan which was issued by the University of Michigan in 1954 and subsequently he compiled (and did a second edition of)one of those marvelous pamphlet guides of the Service Center for Teachers of History of the American Historical Association for introducing Japanese history into high school and college curricula. He also was active in scholarly organizations, the A.H.A. and the Association for Asian Studies. He served as chairman of the Japan-U.S. Conference on Educational and Cultural Interchange; was founder and chair of the Japan-United States Friendship Committee and served a term as chair of the Joint Committee on Japanese Studies of the Social Science Research Council. He was instrumental in influencing the Japan Foundation to support higher education programs and appointments for further expansion and intensification of United States scholarship on Japan.

Among Hall's many honors were the American Historical Association's award of scholarly distinction, and, from the Japanese government, the award of membership in the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

John Hall is survived by his wife Robin, two daughters and a son as well as a broad group of former students and fellow scholars.

I have attached below, a short bibliography of some of Hall's most influential works. I have not included articles, essays in collective volumes, nor works published in or translated into Japanese.

Frank F. Conlon
University of Washington

Author: Hall, John Whitney
Title: Tanuma Okitsugu, 1719-1788, forerunner of modern Japan.
Pub. Info.: Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1955.
Phy Descript: 208 p.
Series Info.: Harvard-Yenching Institute monograph series, 14.
LCCN: 52005396.
Author: Hall, John Whitney
Title: Government and local power in Japan, 500 to 1700; a study based on Bizen Province.
Pub. Info.: Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1966.
Phy Descript: x,446p.
LCCN: 65014307.
[A paperbound edition of work was issued by Princeton in 1980:
ISBN: 0691067802 (pbk.)]
Author: Hall, John Whitney
Title: Japanese history: new dimensions of approach and understanding
Pub. Info.: Washington: Service Center for Teachers of History, c1961.
Phy Descript: 63 p.
Series Info.: Publication (Service Center for Teachers of History) ; no 34.
LCCN: 61009919
Author: Hall, John Whitney
Title: Japanese history; new dimensions of approach and understanding.
Edition: 2d ed.
Pub. Info.: Washington, Service Center for Teachers of History, 1966
Phy Descript: 69 p.
Series Info.: Service Center for Teachers of History. Publication no. 34.
LCCN: 66007707.
Author: Hall, John Whitney and Toyoda Takeshi, editors
Title: Japan in the Muromachi age.
Pub. Info.: Berkeley: University of California Press, c1977.
Phy Descript: xv, 376 p.
Notes: Sponsored by the Social Science Research Council..
This volume is the outcome of a binational conference held in the summer of 1973 in Kyoto, Japan..
ISBN: 0520028880.
LCCN: 74022963 //r85.
Author: Hall, John Whitney and Jeffrey P. Mass, editors
Title: Medieval Japan; essays in institutional history,
Pub. Info.: New Haven, Yale University Press, 1974.
Phy Descript: xv, 269 p.
ISBN: 0300016778.
LCCN: 73086897.
Author: Hall, John Whitney.
Title: Japanese history; a guide to Japanese reference and research materials.
Pub. Info.: Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1954.
Phy Descript: 165 p.
LC Subject: Japan -- History -- Bibliography.
Series Info.: University of Michigan. Center for Japanese Studies, Bibliographical series, no. 4.
LCCN: 54062413.
[A reprint of this reference was issued from Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973. ISBN: 0837168309; LCCN: 73003013.]
Author: Hall, John Whitney and Richard K. Beardsley
Title: Twelve doors to Japan. With chapters by Joseph K. Yamagiwa [and] B James George, Jr.
Pub. Info.: New York, McGraw-Hill, 1965.
Phy Descript: xxi, 649 p.
LCCN: 64066015
Author: Sengoku Conference (1977: Lahaina, Hawaii).
Unif. Title: [Sengoku jidai. English.].
Title: Japan before Tokugawa: political consolidation and economic growth, 1500-1650 / edited by John Whitney Hall, Nagahara Keiji, and Kozo Yamamura.
Pub. Info.: Princeton: Princeton University Press, c1981.
Phy Descript: xiv, 392 p.
Notes: Translation of Sengoku jidai.
ISBN: 0691053081
LCCN: 80007524 //r852.
Author: Hall, John Whitney
Title: Das Japanische Kaiserreich.
Pub. Info.: Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschebuch Verlag, 1976, c1968.
Phy Descript: 379.
Notes: Fischer Weltgeschichte ; Bd. 20.
ISBN: 3436012122
Author: Beardsley, Richard K., John W. Hall and Robert E. Ward
Title: Village Japan.
Pub. Info.: Chicago, University of Chicago Press [1969, c1959].
Phy Descript: xx, 49
Author: Hall, John Whitney and Marius Jansen, editors
Title: Studies in the institutional history of early modern Japan,
Pub. Info.: Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1968.
Phy Descript: x, 396 p.
LCCN: 68015766.
Author: Hall, John Whitney
Title: Japan, from prehistory to modern times.
Pub. Info.: New York, Dell Pub. Co. c1970.
Phy Descript: xii, 397 p.
LCCN: 72105883
Title: The Cambridge history of Japan / [general editors, John W Hall ... et al.].
Pub. Info.: Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988-.
Notes: Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
Contents: Incomplete contents: v. 1. Ancient Japan / edited by Delmer M. Brown -- v. 3. Medieval Japan / edited by Kozo Yamamura -- v. 4. Early modern Japan / edited by John Whitney Hall -- v. 5. The nineteenth century / edited by Marius B Jansen -- v. 6. The twentieth century / edited by Peter Duus.
ISBN: 0521223520 (v. 1). 0521223547 (v. 3). 0521223555 (v. 4). 0521223563 (v. 5). 0521223571 (v. 6).
LCCN: 88002877.