Edwin O. Reischauer, U.S. ambassador to Japan (1961-66), set the bar very high for all of his successors. Born and raised in Japan by missionary parents, when U.S. President John F. Kennedy called him into diplomatic service, he was already a prominent scholar who pioneered Japanese studies in the U.S.

It was an unlikely career move for an intellectual who wrote his doctoral dissertation about Ennin, a previously obscure Japanese monk who kept a diary about his travels in Tang Dynasty China in the ninth century.

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