Born in 1940 in Houston, Texas, and raised in Long Island, New York, Richard Barron Parker graduated from Haverford College in 1962, then completed a Master’s at Brown University, a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Chicago, and a J.D. at Harvard Law School. After a few years practicing law in Boston and teaching at Rutgers University Law School (1971-1982), he spent most of his professional life in Japan: beginning in 1983 by teaching as a Fulbright scholar at Tohoku University in Sendai, at Osaka University, and then for eighteen years at Hiroshima Shudo University. He felt strongly attached to the Japanese aesthetic, and taking every opportunity to engage in Japanese life, he became a fan of Japanese food and drink, Japanese gardens and baths, karaoke, and especially of Chiyonofuki, the star sumo wrestler. After retiring to Maine in 2008, he joined the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine to continue teaching classes on Japan and on American elections and politics. Parker died in 2021 in Portland, Maine.
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Nicoll, Don, "Parker, Richard Barron oral history interview" (2019). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 434.