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Taira Kuratsuka retires from scholarship.

Since 2002 Dr. Taira Kuratsuka, professor emeritus of Meiji University, Tokyo, has been retired from scholarship. He has been a good friend to scholars of the German Reformation in Europe and North America, particularly Werner Packull and me, for whom he facilitated academic exchanges with his university. We are taking this opportunity to express our appreciation of his scholarly career.

Kuratsuka received his higher education at the University of Tokyo in the 1950s, specializing in political studies. In 1967-1969 he received an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship to study with Robert Stupperich at the University of Munster. In 1971 he translated Stupperich's biography of Philipp Melanchthon into Japanese. In the following year he was chief editor of a book in Japanese on the radical wing of the Reformation (Tokyo, 1972). Always a public scholar concerned with the political and social impact of his scholarship, Kuratsuka worked with South Korean Christians in the 1980s in opposing militarism and advocating democracy, bringing the plight of political prisoners such as Kim Daejung, who later became the president of the Republic of Korea, to the attention of the world. His more recent scholarship focused on "utopian" facets of Anabaptism, specifically the Anabaptist regime in Munster, 1534-1535, and the Hutterian Brethren. In 1985 Kuratsuka published an important article on the relationship of Munster political elites and Anabaptists ("Gesamtgilde und Taufer") in the Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte. His "The Decline of Hutterite Community of Goods" appeared in English as the lead chapter in Radical Reformation Studies (Ashgate, 1999), edited by Werner O. Packull and Geoffrey L. Dipple. Most recently, he has translated into Japanese Heinrich Gresbeck's Summarische Ertzelungk und Bericht der Wederdope, the most reliable account of what transpired during the Anabaptist regime in Munster.

Always interested in religious utopian communities, Kuratsuka visited the Oneida Community in New York and a Hutterite community in Minnesota in a trip to North America in 1997.

Taira Kuratsuka has been a generous and stimulating friend to the community of Anabaptist-Mennonite scholars.
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Author:Stayer, James M.
Publication:Mennonite Quarterly Review
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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