[Back to Formatted Version]

Ralph Coleman Jr. Tokyo Blues Memoir, 2009-2015

By Chris Petersen

Collection Overview

Title: Ralph Coleman Jr. Tokyo Blues Memoir, 2009-2015

ID: MSS TokyoBlues

Primary Creator: Coleman, Ralph O., Jr., 1931-

Extent: 0.15 cubic feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2016

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


Ralph Coleman Jr.'s memoir Tokyo Blues recounts Coleman's military service in Japan while a member of the United States Air Force from 1954-1956. A Corvallis native, Ralph O. Coleman Jr. graduated from Oregon State College in 1949.

In addition to two copies of Coleman's self-published book, the collection also includes born digital files used in the publishing of the book, including a complete copy of the memoir with cover and plates. These files are available upon request.

Scope and Content Notes

This collection consists of two copies of Ralph Coleman Jr.'s self-published memoir, Tokyo Blues (2009), as well as four electronic files used in publishing the book. These four files are all PDF documents derived from InDesign originals in October 2015. The electronic files include two complete copies of the memoir's text, one of which also features the book's final cover and interior plates. A third PDF is of the cover only, and a fourth contains the plates (twenty-four photos with captions) used in the book's interior. These files are available upon request.

Tokyo Blues: A Remembrance of Japan and the Far East Air Force, 1954-1956, was printed by Printing Today and features book design by Morgan Ryan-Smith. Following an opening chapter recalling his upbringing and college years in Corvallis, the volume primarily recounts the two years that Coleman spent in Japan as an Air Force Base Contracting Officer. In this, the book specifically focuses on work that the United States armed forces conducted while helping to rehabilitate Japan from the destructive aftermath of the second world war.

Coleman's memoir likewise traces his own maturation as a young man living and working in an environment that was radically different from the Oregon that he had known growing up. As noted in the memoir's introduction, which is written by Chuck Thompson, the book includes "anecdotes of Japan and Cold War Asia [that] bring to life everything from American B-29 spy planes sparring with Soviet MiGs over the Sea of Japan, to explorations of the hidden realm of Japanese bathhouses, hostess bars, hot springs resorts, and off-beat places..."

Biographical / Historical Notes

Ralph Orval Coleman Jr. was born in Corvallis in 1931. The son and namesake of Oregon State's long-serving baseball coach, Ralph Jr. played baseball for his father while an undergraduate at Oregon State College, which he attended from 1949 to 1954.

Following the completion of his degree in Business Administration, Coleman was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He spent the next two years in Tokyo, Japan as a Base Contracting Officer.

Once discharged from the military, Coleman entered graduate school at the University of Oregon where he earned his masters degree in Communicative Development and Child Psychology. In 1960 he began a doctoral program in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University, and he completed his Ph.D. in 1963. Soon after, he began a lengthy career at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon, working as an Associate Professor of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Author: Chris Petersen

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box; 35 MB born digital

Statement on Access: This collection is open for research. Access to the collection's electronic files is available either upon request or through the electronic records kiosk housed in the SCARC reading room.

Acquisition Note: Paper copies of Tokyo Blues were donated to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center by Ralph Coleman, Jr. in 2014. The electronic records held in this collection were transferred to SCARC by the OSU Press in 2016.

Related Materials:

An oral history interview with Ralph Coleman, Jr. that focuses on his undergraduate years is available in the Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Collection (OH 26). The life and work of Coleman's father is likewise documented in the Ralph O. Coleman Papers (MSS Coleman).

SCARC's collections include three additional memoirs. The Wesley Ross Memoir of World War II (MSS RossW) consists of military remembrances penned by another Oregon State College alum. The Haskell C. and Sarah E. Carter Memoir (MSS Carter) and Wanda F. Hardin Fruits Memoir (MSS Fruits) are two additional examples of Oregon State alumni writing the stories of their lives.


Coleman, Ralph O., Jr., 1931-

People, Places, and Topics

Postwar reconstruction--Japan.

Forms of Material

Born digital.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.