Robert Karl Reischauer

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  • Born: 1907
  • Died: August 14, 1937

Robert Karl Reischauer was a historian and political scientist, the brother of the famed historian of Japan Edwin O. Reischauer. He served for a short time as Lecturer in the School of Public and International Affairs, and Instructor in the Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures at Princeton University.

He is likely best known for his two-volume chronology of Japanese history, laying out the specific dates of events in Japanese history from roughly 40 BCE to 1167 CE.

Completing that project in 1936 or 1937 (the two volumes were officially published in 1937), Reischauer found himself in Shanghai as war more fully formally broke out between China and Japan in the summer of 1937. On August 14, Stray bombs from Chinese planes attacking Japanese warships in the harbor struck Reischauer's hotel, where he was staying with his wife Jean. He was not killed immediately, but is said to have died from inadequate medical attention, and a failure to stop his bleeding. He is identified by his brother Edwin Reischauer as "the first American casualty in World War II."[1]

Robert K. Reischauer is buried at Tama Reien (Tama Cemetery), in Fuchû, Tokyo.


  • Reischauer, Robert K. Early Japanese History (c. 40 BC - AD 1167). Princeton University Press, 1937. (Reprinted 1967 by Peter Smith Publishers, Gloucester, Mass.)


  • "August 14, 1937." Tales of Old Shanghai. Accessed 17 December 2011.
  • Barrett, Warrick L. "Robert Karl Reischauer." 16 August 2003.
  • "Edwin Oldfather Reischauer." RootsWeb. 2011. Accessed 17 December 2011.
  • Reischauer, Robert K. Early Japanese History (c. 40 BC - AD 1167). Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1967. p. iii.
  1. Edwin O. Reischauer, Japan: The Story of a Nation, New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc. (1970), v.