Obituary: Soviak, professor emeritus of history, 76

Eugene Soviak, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history in Arts & Sciences, died Friday, Oct. 3, 2003, in St. Louis. He was 76.

A specialist in modern Japanese intellectual history, Soviak was on the faculty of the Department of History from 1969 until his retirement in 1993.

Born in Michigan in 1927, Soviak earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Far Eastern history, both from Wayne State University, in 1951 and 1953. He also spent 16 months with the Army in the Korean conflict from 1952-54.

He taught at the University of Chicago from 1960-69 and earned a doctorate in Japanese history from the University of Michigan.

Soviak had a hand in one of the most important and compelling documents of wartime Japan when he edited and translated into English Kiyosawa Kiyoshi’s Ankoku Nikki as A Diary of Darkness: The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi, published in 1999.

Between 1942-45, the journalist Kiyosawa (1890-1945) kept a diary of his often subversive social and political observations and political struggles. The diary caused a sensation when it was originally published in Japan in 1948, and is today regarded as a classic.

Soviak’s version was the first time the text appeared in English.

Soviak received a Fulbright Fellowship and a Fulbright-Hays faculty grant, and was elected to Phi Kappa Phi (1958) and Phi Beta Kappa (1960).

Memorial services will be held privately.