Frank Hawley

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Hawley's Hôrei bunko ("Hawley Collection") seal
  • Born: 1906/3/31
  • Died: 1961/1/10

Frank Hawley was a British book collector and journalist known for his exceptional collection of Ryûkyû-related materials, and expertise in related subjects.

Originally from the village of Norton in County Durham, England, he was the eldest son of Albert and Jessica Hawley. After attending Liverpool University, Hawley moved to Japan to become an English language teacher at the Tokyo School of Foreign Languages in 1931. After some time as a teacher at the Tokyo University of Arts and Sciences, and Third High School, he became a researcher at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

Sometime before or just after the outbreak of World War II, he returned to England, where he attended Japanese language training at the University of London, worked for the BBC, and traveled to Washington DC as a staffer of the British Foreign Office. As the war neared its end, he applied for a special position at the London Times, and returned to Japan in the autumn of 1946 as the head of the London Times' Tokyo branch office. After several years reporting the news of Japan's recovery under Allied Occupation, in 1952 Hawley retired from the newspaper and moved to the Yamashina district of Kyoto, where he continued his private research.

Over the years, Hawley built an impressive collection of books and other materials related to Ryûkyû, including Edo period] woodblock-printed books and handscroll paintings, as well as more modern materials. He made a point of collecting multiple versions, sometimes, of the same materials, something which today is of great use for scholars. Many he stamped with a seal reading 「宝玲文庫」 (Hôrei bunko, "Hawley Collection").

Following Hawley's death on 1961/1/10, Professor Shunzô Sakamaki of the University of Hawaii acquired his collection of Ryûkyû materials for the university's library. The Sakamaki-Hawley Collection, combining Hawley's collection and that of Prof. Sakamaki, is today the largest collection of Ryûkyû-related materials in the United States.