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Posted : 2011-11-06 19:29
Updated : 2011-11-06 19:29

East Asia expert Scalapino dies at 92


Robert Scalapino
By Philip Iglauer

Robert Anthony Scalapino, Berkeley University professor and East Asia expert, died on Nov. 1, in Oakland, Calif. of complications from a respiratory infection. He was 92.

As a leading expert on East Asia, including Korea and Japan, Sacalpino advised three U.S. presidents on foreign policy relating to Asia.

Scalapino published some 553 articles and 39 books or monographs on Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan as well as on Asian politics and U.S. Asian policy.

He received the Woodrow Wilson Award in 1972 by the American Political Science Association for the two-volume “Communism in Korea” he wrote with Korean scholar Lee Chong-sik.

Scalapino also received the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit, Heung-in Medal from the Korean government.

Between 1965 and 1980, he served on the State Department Advisory Committees on East Asia and on China.

Scalapino came to Korea many times and made 62 trips to China. He also traveled several times to North Korea and led a 2008 delegation of UC Berkeley faculty members to Mongolia.

Scalapino joined UC Berkeley’s political science department in 1949 and served as department chair from 1962 to 1969.
He received his B.A. in 1940 from Santa Barbara College (later to become UC Santa Barbara) and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from Harvard University in 1943 and 1948, respectively.

Scalapino was born on Oct. 19, 1919, in Leavenworth, Kan., and his family moved in 1929 to Santa Barbara. Midway through college, he decided to specialize in politics and international relations between the United States and Europe. After Pearl Harbor, Scalapino went into the military as a Japanese language officer at the U.S. Navy Language School in Boulder, Colo., beginning his immersion in East Asia.

In his memoirs, “From Leavenworth to Lhasa ­ Living in a Revolutionary Era” (2008), Scalapino said he started his college teaching career in 1940 to pay for graduate school. At that time, he met Dee Jessen, and the two wed in 1941, remaining married until her death in 2005.

They raised three daughters: the late poet Leslie Scalapino; Diane Jablon of Los Angeles; and Lynne Scalapino of Berkeley, Calif. Robert Scalapino also is survived by five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A December memorial is being planned, details of which are to be announced later.

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