Former ICWA fellow and trustee Takashi Oka (1964-1966, Vietnam, Japan, Austria)—a groundbreaking journalist who interpreted the Far East for Americans—died on Dec. 2 at his home in New York City, according to an obituary in The New York Times. He was 96.

Tak spent most of his career as chief Far Eastern correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. He was also the first Japanese-born Tokyo bureau chief for the Times and later editor-in-chief of Newsweek’ s Japanese edition. He left journalism to enter Japanese politics before earning a Ph.D. from Oxford in political science at the age of 84.

As an an ICWA fellow, Tak divided his time between Vietnam, Japan and Austria during the post-war rebirth of Japan in the 1960s. His archived newsletters are available at the Columbia University Library.

Tak last joined an ICWA panel discussion in 2009 on changes in contemporary China with Jeanne Barnett, Mary Lou Hummel and Peter Geithner, moderated by Steve Butler: video here.

He is survived by his wife, Hiro Oka, whom he met in New York City and married in 1956, his daughters Megumi and Sakuya Oka and four grandchildren.


New York Times obituary here.

Christian Science Monitor obituary here.


Top photo: Takashi in 1948 aboard a ship headed to the United States from Japan. (New York Times obituary, Oka family archive)