Harry C. Kelly and the Reconstruction of Science and Technology in Postwar Japan
Science Has No National Borders unfolds the fascinating account of the American scientist, Harry C. Kelly, who was central to the United States' contribution to the reconstruction of postwar Japan's science and engineering community. Charged with developing a sound and wise policy during the occupation, he tackled such significant and timeless issues as the relationship between government and scholars and the balance between academic freedom and state power. In the aftermath of World War II, from 1945 through 1952, U.S. military forces occupied Japan. The Americans who served as liaison officers during this time were faced with the task of forging alliances with former enemies so as to transform and revitalize Japan's institutions while paying close attention to American interests and concerns. Nowhere was the need for this delicate balance more evident than in the reconstruction of Japanese science and the reintegration of Japanese scientists into the global community of scholars. Kelly, a physicist in his late thirties, arrived in Japan with little idea of his mission and virtually no knowledge of Japan's culture, society, or language. What he did bring, in addition to his scientific training, was a humanistic vision of the scientific endeavor that extended beyond national borders and politics. By the time he left, he had won the respect and friendship of many Japanese scientists, and in 1969 the government awarded him the highest honor it confers on someone who is not Japanese. Kelly's work remains significant for today's scientists who must continue to seek mutual trust and support at a time when the strength of U.S.-Japanese relations is being challenged more than at any time since the end of World War II.