[A tribute to the memory of Dr. Dillon by Dr. David Wang follows this article]
Wilton S. Dillon (1923-2015), a highly respected anthropologist and Senior Scholar Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution, was born in Yale, Oklahoma in 1923. He served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II and then participated in the Occupation of Japan in various military and civilian capacities from December 1945 to December 1948. His insightful analysis of the nature and meaning of the Occupation make for some very worthwhile reading.
Dr. Dillon received his BA at the University of California, Berkeley in 1951 in Communications and Public Policy. His 1961 Columbia Anthropology PhD dissertation was later published as Gifts and Nations. Dillon worked at the National Academy of Sciences before becoming Director of Smithsonian International Symposia in 1969 and later as Founding Director of Interdisciplinary Studies. His extensive writings on Japan have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Virginia Review of Asian Studies, Columbia Forum and Far Eastern Ceramic Bulletin.
Daniel A. Métraux, Editor of VRAS, conducted this interview in 2012. The interview was first published in the Winter 2012 (Volume 17.3) issue of Education About Asia, pp. 19-22, entitled “Serving in the Occupation: An Interview with Wilton Dillon.” It is republished here in full with the permission of Dr. Dillon and the Editors of Education About Asia.
Dr. Dillon died in August 2015 at the age of 92. We publish this interview here as our tribute to the long and distinguished career of Dr. Dillon who was a frequent contributor to this journal.
Following the interview readers will find a brief tribute to Dr. Dillon written in appreciation by his colleague and friend, Dr. David Wang, a Contributing Editor to this journal.