John Curtis Perry

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John Curtis Perry
John Curtis Perry.jpg
Born (1930-07-18) July 18, 1930 (age 84)
Orange, New Jersey[1]
Other names ペリー, ジョン・カーティス[2]
Residence Ipswich, Massachusetts
Citizenship  United States
Fields East Asian studies,
Maritime studies
Institutions Carleton College
Connecticut College
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Alma mater Yale University (A.B.)
Yale University (M.A.)
Harvard University (Ph.D.)
Thesis Great Britain and the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1858-1905 (1962)
Doctoral advisor Edwin O. Reischauer
Robert G. Albion[3]
Other academic advisors George Vernadsky
Doctoral students Sung-Yoon Lee
Notable awards JPN Zuiho-sho 3Class BAR.svg Imperial decoration of the Order of the Sacred Treasure
Spouse Sarah Hollis French
Children 5[1]

John Curtis Perry also known as John Perry (born 18 July 1930)[1] is an East Asian and Oceanic studies professor and historian. He is the Henry Willard Denison Professor of History at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.[4][5][6][7] He is also the Director of that school's Maritime Studies program[8] and president of the Institute for Global Maritime Studies.[9]

Perry has written several history books and articles, on topics including Pacific Asia-US relations, the American occupation of Japan, and American expansionism toward the Pacific Ocean. His writing style has been characterized for artfully conveying history to the general reader with pith, wit, and clarity.[4][10][11][12][13] The Japanese government awarded him the Imperial decoration of the Order of the Sacred Treasure for his contributions to US-Japan relations.[2][9][14]

Education[edit]

Perry attended Friends schools in Washington, DC and New York City, subsequently going to Yale College for his bachelor's degree in Chinese Studies, graduating in 1952. At Yale he also pursued a master of arts in Foreign Area Studies.[9][15]

Later, he attended Harvard University for his PhD in history, concluding in 1962 with his thesis Great Britain and the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1858-1905. His doctoral advisors were Edwin O. Reischauer, a japanologist, and Robert G. Albion, a maritime historian;[3][9] both the leading scholars in their fields at the time.[12][16][17]

Career[edit]

From 1962 until 1966, Perry was Assistant Professor of History at Connecticut College, and from 1966 to 1980, he was Assistant Professor, Professor of History, and Director of the East Asian Studies Program at Carleton College.[18][19] In 1980, he joined the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,[5] becoming the Henry Willard Denison Chair of History in 1981.[9]

Perry was a visiting research associate at Harvard's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies from 1976 to 1979, and at the Japan Institute (later renamed Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies) from 1979 to 1980.[1]

In his early career, his teaching and research focus was American-East Asian relations, especially with Japan. In the early 2000s, he shifted his focus to maritime studies in order to explore the history of human interactions via the sea.[14] From 1985 to 1997, he was the director of the North Pacific Program,[1][9] and is currently the director of the Maritime Studies program.[5] He teaches Maritime History and Globalization and The International Relations of the China Seas.[20]

In 1995 Perry also took an interest in the Russian Tsar's family dynamics, partnering with Constantine Pleshakov in researching the Romanovs' family history from the youth of Alexander III in the 1860s to the death in 1960 of his last surviving daughter. Their research, was published in a book The Flight of the Romanovs: A Family Saga (1999), the first book to provide a biography of the family as a whole.[13][21] Perry and Pleshakov, at the invitation of the Russian government, attended in 1998 the burial of the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.[13]

Perry is the president of the Institute for Global Maritime Studies, a non-profit research organization. He has been a consultant to several organizations, including the Policy Planning Branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea,[5] the Japan Export Trade Promotion Organization (currently the Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO), and Rhumb Line LLC.[9] He also served as a director of the Japan America Society of New Hampshire,[5] and is a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society since 1990.[22] He is a senior advisor and director of the Japan Society of Boston.[23]

Family[edit]

In 1957, Perry married Sarah Hollis French, of Farmington, Connecticut. They have five children and ten grandchildren.[1][14][15]

Honors[edit]

Ribbon
Medal

In 1991, the Japanese Government awarded Perry the imperial decoration of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Third Class (Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon), for his contributions to American-Japanese relations.[2][9][14]

In 2000, Fletcher students and friends established the John Curtis Perry Fellowship for a deserving Fletcher student.[14][24][25]

Writings[edit]

Perry has been praised for his skillful, pithy, and enjoyable writing style to convey history to the reader.[10][26][27] Historian Roger Dingman has said that "Perry writes clearly, succinctly and wittily".[28] Raymond A. Esthus compares Perry's style to "sumi-e, the Japanese paintings that portray a scene or suggest a world of feeling with a few skillful brush strokes".[10] Clayton James said of Beneath the Eagle's Wings: Americans in Occupied Japan "It is a model for brevity, lucidity, coherence, balance, objectivity, and perceptiveness".[11] Walter A. McDougall writes of Perry, "He has a keen eye for [literary] images"[29] and Roger Dingman commented, "He has an eye for the pithy quote and the illustrative incident".[28]

The American occupation of Japan[edit]

Summary[edit]

In the book Beneath the Eagle's Wings: Americans in Occupied Japan (1980), Perry asserted that the post-WWII American occupation of Japan was a major success, despite the odds. Americans came into Japan full of vitality and energy, convinced of the superiority of their own culture and its suitability for Japan, and unencumbered by much knowledge of Japan's history or culture. These American characteristics might have been reasons for failure, but paradoxically the occupation was an extraordinary success: "a landmark in human history," Perry states.

However, despite how little Americans knew of the Japanese, the occupation policy actually did not clash head-on with Japanese ways of doing things. The nation was ruled through the Japanese government, making local military government units superfluous. The technique most widely used by occupation officials was hortatory: advice, counsel, and visits by experts invited to Japan by the supreme commander of the allied powers. This worked because of the extreme deference shown to the occupiers by the Japanese people and their leaders. Yet, although the occupation did remake the social, political and economic structures of Japan, its culture displayed a great degree of resilience.[10] His stress is on the fascinating ways in which the occupiers and the occupied adjusted and adapted to their unprecedented encounter and, thanks to good will on both sides, made the Occupation's liabilities as insignificant as possible.[11]

Reception[edit]

The book received generally positive reviews, considered as an engaging and illustrative work recommended for the general public.[10][30][31][32][33] Esthus characterized the book as a "fine interpretive portrait of the American experience in occupied Japan", developed with "perception and literary grace",[10] and Clayton James called it a "first rate" account on the occupation of Japan, "demonstrating masterful knowledge of the period and its literature," making it "a delightful brief study that both general readers and teachers in the field will appreciate."[11] Alan Miller from The New Republic considered the work an "engaging" book that "doubtless will be a cornerstone for future historians intending to construct the comprehensive study of the Occupation".[30] On the other hand, Dingman was critical of the work, pointing to a lack of research and citation of sources and the "painting" of a "rosy view of the American occupation", while he still positively evaluated Perry's literary skills.[28] Differing from Dingman, McDonald at the Boston Globe, judged the book to be balanced, noting that "not everything was rosy" in Perry's narration, and further noted that "Perry almost apologizes for the fact that that this is not a 'scholarly' work, which could take volumes, but this book is precise enough and includes relevant details. By being readable enough for the layman (...) it will reach a greater audience, and it should. There are lessons for today and tomorrow in the history of the occupation".[33]

History of US-East Asia relations (1784-1975)[edit]

Summary[edit]

The book Sentimental Imperialists: The American Experience in East Asia (1981, co-authored with James Thomson and Peter W. Stanley) recounts the American experience of East Asia, from approximately 1784 until the fall of Saigon in 1975,[4] discerning four major underlying patterns: competitive nationalism, mutual ethnocentrism, multilateral ignorance, and "a distinctive American sense of mission to 'do good' that has been the driving force behind American imperialism in East Asia".[34]

The New York Times summarized the book as "a description and deflation of a series of illusions: the illusion of a commercial pot-of-gold at the end of a Pacific rainbow, the illusion that the United States had an attainable destiny to convert China to Christianity and modern democracy, the illusion that it was within American power to build a united, anti-Communist China after 1945 and the illusion that the Vietnam war was a test of America's dedication to freedom. Underlying all these illusions was the unstated assumption that Americans were active and Asians passive and that the outcome of any transaction was determined by what Americans thought and did. This assumption united the missionary enthusiasts of the 19th century, the exponents of the United States as China's political savior and guide to the 20th century, the McCarthyites searching for those who 'lost China,' and the Johnsonian visionaries dreaming of Mekong River Authorities while directing the fighting in Vietnam from computerized and air conditioned command centers."[12]

Reception[edit]

Reviewers noted that three historians, established scholars respectively on American relations with China, the Philippines, and Japan,[12][35][36] were beneficiaries of having been disciples of Edwin O. Reischauer and John K. Fairbank (who contributed a foreword), the leading historical interpreters of American relations with Japan and China respectively during the previous three decades.[4][12] While the authors were East Asian specialists, they remained abreast of American history, being able to provide a balanced history of American-East Asian relations.[12][35] It was also noted that this book was the first to provide a comprehensive overview of the topic, before then the history of US-East Asia relations having only been examined in fragments.[37] The authors developed the book for the general reader,[12][38] bringing a comprehensive text that shatters the American sentimentality and replaces it with a realistic historical portrait that highlights the multicultural complexity of East Asian countries.[4][12][36] Several reviewers noted a lack of bibliography and footnotes,[12][34][35] while others also recommended the book not only for the general public,[35] but also for students,[38] specialists,[37] and policy makers.[35]

Sentimental Imperialists received mostly positive reviews from academic and journalistic critics. It was welcomed by Kenneth Shewmaker as a "thoughtful overview" and "a masterpiece of condensation and multicultural analysis," and went on to say the authors "effectively combined their expertise to fashion an impressive multicultural study that cogently encapsulates two hundred years of American-East Asian relations".[34] Cohen also evaluated the book positively, deeming several of its chapters "superb, (...) well-written, thoughtful, and informative",[38] and Van Alstyne said he was inclined to "second the praise lavished upon it by a number of prominent writers quoted on the dust jacket."[36] Kwok recommended that "policymakers and general readers ought to have this book on their shelves, after attentive perusal".[35]

Elizabeth Peer from Newsweek deemed the book "impressive" and deserving of a "thoughtful audience".[39] Daniel Yergin from The Boston Globe appraised the work as "lively and thoughtful", and "the result is a wise, literate, illuminating exploration that will be of considerable interest to the curious general reader as well as the specialist".[37]Gaddis Smith writing for The New York Times lamented the lack of references, by noting that "so fine a book as this should not omit entirely what is often disparaged as 'scholarly paraphernalia.' ", but acclaimed the authors' use of "a great river of scholarship which they adapt, synthesize and condense with great skill".[12] Smith and Leonard from The New York Times also characterized the book as a straightforward, cogent,[4] readable and intelligent survey.[12] The book was included in The New York Times Notable books of the year list,[40] and was also recommended by The Washington Post.[41]

American pioneering in the Pacific Ocean[edit]

Summary[edit]

In Facing West: Americans and the Opening of the Pacific (1995), Perry explored the attempts and successes by individuals in connecting the North Pacific with sail, steam, and aviation. He stated that the book was "concerned with people, not policy. The United States had no policy for bridging the Pacific [before WWII]."[29] Furthermore, he mostly avoided referring to wars and geopolitical struggles, and rather focused on the vision, entrepreneurship, and courage of Americans who strove to bridge the Pacific.[29] "American activity was largely private, not governmental; individual and not collective; sporadic, not systematic", Perry said,[27] and Americans were propelled by the lure of profitable commerce and a sense of destiny to be the dominant force in the Pacific.[27] Perry concluded that, "although Americans failed to grasp the Orient as they hoped, the power of the myth that pushed them there enabled them to do something bigger, something real. More than any other people, Americans pulled the North Pacific region together and created the essential framework for the long-anticipated Pacific era".[29]

List of publications[edit]

Books[edit]

Book chapters[edit]

  • Imperial China and the Sea, chapter in Asia looks seaward: power and maritime strategy, edited by Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes (Praeger, 2007)
  • Japan and the United States at War in Pacific Century: The Emergence of Modern Pacific Asia, edited by Mark Borthwick (Westview Press, 1998) ISBN 978-0813343556

Monographs[edit]

Articles[edit]

Short essays[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Sleeman, Elizabeth; Neale, Alison; Preston, Ian, eds. (2003). International Who's Who of Authors and Writers 2004. London: Europa Publications. p. 439. ISBN 1857431790. ISSN 1740-018X. 
  2. ^ a b c "西へ! - アメリカ人の太平洋開拓史" [To the west! - History of American pioneering in the Pacific Ocean] (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Kinokuniya. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013. "著者は、故・ライシャワー教授に師事した知日派であり、日米関係・北太平洋国際関係史に多大の貢献を成し、また、日米関係にも重要な足跡を残している。1991年には、その貢献に対し、勲三等瑞宝章が授与された。" 
  3. ^ a b John Curtis Perry (1962). Great Britain and the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1858-1905 (microfilm) (Ph.D.). Harvard University. OCLC 49463375. Lay summary. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Leonard, John (August 27, 1981). "Books of the Times". The New York Times. p. Section C; Page 21, Column 3; Cultural Desk. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Faculty Profile". Boston: The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Bios". Washington DC: National Association of Japan-America Societies. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ Scully, Eileen P. (Dec 1998). "Men, Maps, and Markets: First Causes and Last Resorts in U.S.-Japan Relations The Clash: A History of U.S.-Japan Relations by Walter LaFeber". Reviews in American History (The Johns Hopkins University Press) 26 (4): 759–765. 
  8. ^ "Director's Message". Boston: Maritime Studies Program - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Archived from the original on March 5, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bio page". Boston: Institute for Global Maritime Studies. Archived from the original on March 31, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Esthus, Raymond A. (December 1981). "Beneath the Eagle's Wings: Americans in Occupied Japan by John Curtis Perry; Review by: Raymond A. Esthus". The American Historical Review (Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association) 86 (5): 1133–1134. doi:10.2307/1858625. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d D. Clayton James (April 1982). "Beneath the Eagle's Wings: Americans in Occupied Japan. by John Curtis Perry; Review by: D. Clayton James" 46 (2). Society for Military History. p. 103. doi:10.2307/1988125. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Smith, Gaddis (September 13, 1981). "A History of Illusions". The New York Times. p. Section 7; Page 13, Column 2; Book Review Desk. 
  13. ^ a b c Rosenberg, Victor (Fall 1999). "The Flight of the Romanovs: A Family Saga". History: Review of New Books (Taylor & Francis Ltd) 28 (1): 30. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Bios". Boston: The Center for Environmental & Resource Policy. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Sarah H. French is future bride". The New York Times. August 18, 1957. p. 90. 
  16. ^ Kemble, John H. (1975). "Chapter one: Maritime History in the Age of Albion". In Labaree, Benjamin W. The Atlantic World of Robert G. Albion (First ed.). Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0819540854. OCLC 1848958. 
  17. ^ "Edwin O. Reischauer". Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvar University. Archived from the original on 2014-07-04. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Carleton History Department Gallery 1960-1970". Carleton College. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Carleton History Department Gallery 1970-1980". Carleton College. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  20. ^ "The Fletcher Bulletin". Boston: The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. 2012-13. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. ^ Newcomb, Amelia (Apr 20, 2000). "The violent dynamics of a monarchy's finale". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 20. 
  22. ^ "Members of the Massachusetts Historical Society". Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Third Series (Massachusetts Historical Society) 109: ix–xv. 1997.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  23. ^ "Board of Directors 2011-2012". Japan Society of Boston. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Fletcher scholarship list". Boston: The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Celebration Planned to Recognize John Perry". Medford, MA: The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. December 2000. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  26. ^ Toyo Omi Nagata (September 1996). "Facing West: Americans and the Opening of the Pacific. by John Curtis Perry; Review by: Toyo Omi Nagata". The Journal of American History (Organization of American Historians) 83 (2): 611. doi:10.2307/2944985. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  27. ^ a b c Mak, James (September 1995). "Facing West: Americans and the Opening of the Pacific. by John Curtis Perry; Review by: James Mak". The Journal of Economic History (Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Economic History Association) 55 (3): 722–724. doi:10.1017/s0022050700041978. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  28. ^ a b c Dingman, Roger (August 1982). "Beneath the Eagle's Wings: Americans in Occupied Japan by John Curtis Perry; Review by: Roger Dingman". Pacific Historical Review (University of California Press) 51 (3): 348–349. doi:10.2307/3638629. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  29. ^ a b c d McDougall, Walter A. (October 1996). "Facing West: Americans and the Opening of the Pacific by John Curtis Perry; Review by: Walter A. McDougall". The American Historical Review (Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association) 101 (4): 1288. doi:10.2307/2169807. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Miller, Alan L. (February 28, 1981). "BENEATH the Eagle's Wings: Americans in Occupied Japan (Book); PERRY, John Curtis". The New Republic: 36–37. 
  31. ^ Berger, Kenneth W. (October 1, 1980). "Perry, John Curtis. Beneath the Eagle's Wings: Americans in Occupied Japan.". Library Journal 105 (17): 2082. 
  32. ^ Moore, Ray A. (Autumn 1981). "The Occupation of Japan as History. Some Recent Research". Monumenta Nipponica (Sophia University) 36 (3): 317–328. 
  33. ^ a b MacDonald, Bob (Apr 19, 1981). "How the US waged peace in Japan". Boston Globe. p. 71. 
  34. ^ a b c Shewmaker, Kenneth E. (June 1982). "Sentimental Imperialists: The American Experience in East Asia by James C. Thomson,; Peter W. Stanley; John Curtis Perry; Review by: Kenneth E. Shewmaker". The Journal of American History (Organization of American Historians) 69 (1): 127–128. doi:10.2307/1887762. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f Kwok, D. W. Y. (Jul 1982). "Sentimental Imperialists: The American Experience in East Asia by James C. Thomson,; Peter W. Stanley; John Curtis Perry". Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Sage Publications, Inc. in association with the American Academy of Political and Social Science) 462 (The American Judiciary: Critical Issues): 162–163. 
  36. ^ a b c Van Alstyne, Richard W. (May 1983). "Sentimental Imperialists: The American Experience in East Asia by James C. Thomson,; Peter W. Stanley; John Curtis Perry; Review by: Richard W. Van Alstyne". Pacific Historical Review (University of California Press) 52 (2): 240–241. doi:10.2307/3638818. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  37. ^ a b c Yergin, Daniel (Sep 13, 1981). "A lively history of US-East Asia ties". Boston Globe. p. 70. 
  38. ^ a b c Cohen, Warren I. (Spring 1983). "Sentimental Imperialists. The American Experience in East Asia. by James C. Thomson,; Peter W. Stanley; John Curtis Perry; Review by: Warren I. Cohen". Pacific Affairs (Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia) 56 (1): 116–117. doi:10.2307/2758774. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  39. ^ Peer, Elizabeth (September 14, 1981). "Far East Folly; Sentimentar Imperialists: The American Experience in East Asia. By James C. Thomson Jr., Peter W. Stanley and John Curtis Perry. 323 pages. Harper & Row. $17.50.". p. 89. 
  40. ^ "Notable Books of the Year". The New York Times. December 6, 1981. p. Section 7; Page 14, Column 1; Book Review Desk. 
  41. ^ Isaac, Arnold R. (April 21, 1985). "VIETNAM; Selected Reading". The Washington Post. p. 8 (Book World). 

External links[edit]