Ivan P. Hall
Ivan Parker Hall was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1932 when his parents were Presbyterian missionaries there. Their family returned to the USA in 1939 when World War II was imminent. He received his B.A. in European History from Princeton University, an M.A. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and his PhD in Japanese History from Harvard University in 1969. In the 1950s he served in the US Information Service in Pakistan and in the future Bangladesh. He was a cultural attaché in Afghanistan after that. He served as a cultural diplomat at the American Embassy in Tokyo from 1977-1984. Then, for the following 9 years he worked as a visiting professor at Tsukuba, Keio, and Gakushuin Universities. He was guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yonsei University in Seoul, Tokyo University at Komaha, and Renmin (People’s) University in Beijing. He retired to Chiang Mai, Thailand where he was a guest lecturer at Payap University.
He was best known for his book Cartels of the Mind: Japan’s Intellectual Closed Shop (1997), an expose of the barriers to foreign participation in Japan’s academic, media, and legal institutions that was chosen by Business Week as one of its “Ten Best Business Books of 1997”, and of Bamboozled! – How America Loses the Intellectual Game with Japan and its Implications for our Future in Asia (2002).
Friends and relatives remember Ivan’s tenacious opinions on matters about which he was informed. They included his activism in behalf of LGBT issues and matters of civil law. His nephew recalls how he engaged politically in multiple countries – bringing a landmark civil rights lawsuit in Japan and resigning vociferously from his federal position in protest of the policies of the administration of US President Ronald Reagan.
About two years ago Ivan left his Hillside Condo in Chiang Mai and moved to Hoenow, a suburb of Berlin, where he died on February 1, 2023.
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