NY Times obit
NY Times obit
March 9, 2003
Herbert Passin, 86, a Scholar on Japan, Dies
By PAUL LEWIS
Herbert Passin, a distinguished scholar of Japan, who was chairman of Columbia University's sociology department and taught at its East Asian Institute, died on Feb. 26 in New York. He was 86.
The cause of death was heart disease, according to his stepson, Scott Latham.
Professor Passin was also a consultant on United States-Japanese issues to two Japanese prime ministers, Yasuhiro Nakasone and Noboru Takeshita, as well as to many American and Japanese foundations and corporations.
He was born in Chicago on Dec. 16, 1916, and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1936 with a bachelor's degree in genetics. He received a bachelor's and a master's degree in anthropology from Northwestern University in 1941, before teaching there. After the United States entered World War II, he was sent to learn Japanese at an Army language school in preparation for the occupation.
He arrived in Tokyo in December 1945 and worked in Gen. Douglas MacArthur's headquarters as chief of the Public Opinion and Sociological Research Division, dealing mainly with land reform and labor policy.
After the war, he held positions at the University of California, the Social Science Research Council in Japan and Ohio State University.
From 1954 to 1957, he was Far Eastern representative for the international magazine Encounter, based in Tokyo.
After a stint with the Congress of Cultural Freedom in Paris, he was a visiting professor at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1959 until 1962, when he moved to Columbia as a professor of sociology. He was chairman of the department from 1973 to 1977.
In 1967, he had helped found the Shimoda Conference, which brought together scores of American and Japanese government officials, and business and academic leaders to discuss United States-Japanese issues at the site of Commodore Matthew Perry's 1853 landing in Japan. He also helped establish the first parliamentary exchange program between Washington and Tokyo.
From 1969 to 1970, he was editor in chief of the first Japanese edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Professor Passin wrote and edited numerous books about Japan in both English and Japanese, including "The United States and Japan" (Prentice-Hall, 1966); "Japanese and the Japanese: Japanese Culture Seen Through the Japanese Language" (Kinseido, 1980); and "Encounter with Japan" (Kodansha International, 1982.)
He is survived by his wife, Helen; his brother, Sidney, of Austerlitz, N.Y.; a son, Thomas, of Reston, Va.; a stepson, Scott Latham of Chester Springs, Pa.; and four grandchildren.
CCC Metro TLC