Richard Pearson

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Richard Pearson (b. 1938) is an archaeologist of East Asia specializing in Okinawa.

Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, he earned his Bachelor's degree in anthropology at the University of Toronto, and his PhD from Yale University in 1966. He taught at the University of Hawaii from 1966-1971 before returning to Canada, where he taught at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver from 1971 until 2000. His work runs the gamut from Canadian archaeology to that of China, Hawaii, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Pearson is currently Professor Emeritus of the University of British Columbia, and a Senior Research Advisor at the Sainsbury Institute in England.

Selected Publications


  • "Chiefly Exchange Between Kyushu and Okinawa, Japan, in the Yayoi Period." Antiquity 64(245)912-922, 1990.
  • "The Nature of Japanese Archaeology." Asian Perspectives 31(2):115-127, 1992.
  • "Fortified castles on Okinawa Island during the Gusuku Period, AD 1200–1600." Antiquity 74 (284):404-412, 2000.
  • "Archaeological Perspectives on the Rise of the Okinawan State." Journal of Archaeological Research 9(3):243-285, 2001.


  • Archaeology of the Ryukyu Islands, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.
  • Windows on the Japanese Past, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1986. (Editor with Gina Barnes and Karl Hutterer)
  • Ancient Japan, Washington and New York: A. Sackler Gallery & Tokyo: Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, 1992.
  • Bulletin of the International Jōmon Culture Conference, Vol. 1. Tokyo, Intl Jōmon Culture Congress, 2004. (Editor)
  • Ancient Ryukyu: An Archaeological Study of Island Communities, University of Hawaii Press, 2013.


  • "About the Author," Ancient Ryukyu: An Archaeological Study of Island Communities, University of Hawaii Press (2013), 397.