I first met Prof. Song Nai Rhee in the mid-seventies when I was a beginning grad student in Old Testament studies at Claremont Graduate School and he was Prof. of Old Testament and academic dean at Northwest Christian University. He gave me some sage advice about continuing to the end of my doctoral program before starting to teach. In addition to the biblical studies, Prof. Rhee has been an avid scholar of Korean history and politics. He has written a biography of Nashimoto Masako, the Japanese princess who was married off to a Korean prince, titled Beautiful as a Rainbow: Nashimoto Masako, a Japanese Princess against All Odds for Love, Life, and Happiness.
He is currently Professor emeritus at NCU as well as Visiting Scholar at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Oregon. His project there is “Ancient Korea and Its Demographic, Cultural, and Technological Contributions to Early Japan.”
My interest in writing about him today is that he has written numerous commentary pieces on Asian politics, economics, and trade for the Register-Guard, our newspaper in Eugene. I read a lot of commentary and opinion pieces, and most have a real ax to grind and often project more heat than light. What is so distinctive about Prof. Rhee’s pieces is that they always incorporate a sense of history, a feel for the nuances of Asian politics, a real moral center, and information that you will find nowhere else.