Jeff Rankin: The East Asian Studies Program Had a Remarkable History – Monmouth Daily Review Atlas | Candle Made Easy

Jeff Rankin

From the 1960s, Monmouth was briefly a center for Asian art, history and culture.

Founded in 1963, Monmouth College’s prestigious East Asian Studies program grew out of a faculty committee report passed by the college Senate, which concluded: “The study of people and cultures outside the Western world is a necessary dimension of liberal education .” A proposal was developed with funding from the Ford Foundation and the strong support of Dean Harry Manley, who envisioned Monmouth as an important center for Japanese studies.

The program was inspired both by the College’s historical interest in Egypt through its educational activities at Assiut College and the Cairo Girls School, and by its links with Asia, including a number of students from Japan beginning in the early 20th century. The idea of ​​raising interest in East Asia was promoted by Takashi Komatsu, a 1910 Monmouth graduate who later earned a degree from Harvard and became a leading steamship manager in Japan. Katharine Phelps Boone, a 1930 Monmouth graduate, and her husband Gilbert, a naval commander, helped bring the proposal to fruition. The couple, who had been stationed in Japan for many years, retired to Monmouth in 1960 with an important collection of oriental art and artifacts they had amassed abroad.

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