John Gombojab Hangin

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John Gombojab Hangin (1921–October 9, 1989) was a notable scholar of Mongolian studies. He authored several Mongolian dictionaries and textbooks and is credited by The New York Times with helping to establish recognition for the Mongolian People's Republic from the United Nations and the United States.[1][2]

In Japan[edit]

Hangin was born in Taibus Banner, Chahar, Inner Mongolia to a prominent family who had long been active in the Qing Dynasty court.[2] He was sent to Hokkaido Imperial University in Japan to study during World War II, afterward taking a position as a secretary in the Mengjiang government of Prince Demchugdongrub.[1][2] He was elected to the National Assembly of the Republic of China in 1947; however, after the Chinese Civil War ended with a communist victory, he emigrated to the United States in 1949.[1]

In the United States[edit]

In the US, under the guidance of Owen Lattimore, Hangin studied at Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, and Indiana University (where he received his Ph.D).[1][2] After graduation, he served on the faculties of several universities, including Columbia University, Georgetown University and UC Berkeley, before settling at Indiana University.

Hangin acted as a conduit between Americans and Mongolians. The New York Times, in its 1989 obituary, indicated that "[h]is efforts helped to lay the groundwork for recognition of the Mongolian People's Republic by the United Nations in 1961 and American recognition in 1987."[1] In addition to publishing several textbooks and dictionaries on the Mongolian language, Hangin also founded the Mongolia Society at Indiana Universality and established the Mongol-American Cultural Association (MACA).

Death and legacy[edit]

Hangin died of heart disease while doing research in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.[2] He is buried in the Altan-Ölgii National Cemetery.[3]

The Mongolia Society offers a scholarship in his name to Mongolian students who wish to study in the United States.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "J. G. Hangin, 68, Professor, dies". The New York Times. 1989-10-19. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Sh. Baatar. "John Hangin Gombojab". Zamdaan Journal. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  3. ^ "Remembering Our Founder, Dr. Gombojab Hangin (1921-1989)" (PDF). Mongol Survey (22): 24. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Gombojab Hangin Memorial Scholarship". Retrieved 2008-09-21. 

External links[edit]