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1947 - 1952

His second visit to Japan at the end of 1947 was preceded by his reputation, and included a vast number of official engagements to speak or give lectures as part of the liaison mission. Their astonishing success meant that Edmund's contract was extended from one to two years, and his pace of work became ever more demanding. In two years he delivered more than 600 lectures all over Japan - the majority prepared or adapted for specific occasions, some crafted in long hand the night before. Living in the Embassy compound in Tokyo he was daily sought after by editors, aspiring poets, translators and students seeking study scholarships in Britain. His role required sensitivity as well as stamina as the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki had broken up all sections of Japanese life and he delivered this in good measure. His lectures were published as textbooks and talks, and in 1950 he was elected to the Japan Academy. All over Japan, commemorative tablets inscribed with Blunden poetry were put up between 1950 and 1975.

On his return to England in 1950, he re-joined the Times Literary Supplement. His work began to take new directions as he became involved with the Imperial War Graves Commission, visiting Normandy and Italy. His connection with Christ's Hospital was re-invigorated when he wrote a pageant like portrayal of the school's 400 year history which was performed both at Horsham and the Fortune Theatre. His musical association with Gerald Finzi continued working together on several joint projects, including a piece written for Coronation Day in 1953. That same summer, encouraged by Finzi, Edmund published the first selection of Ivor Gurney's poetry, as well as an edition of Shelley's selected poems. Life had returned to its previously hectic pace (there is not space here to adequately represent the quantity and breadth of his work). Having declined a nomination for the Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, his old pupil Bernard Mellor, who was now Registrar at Hong Kong University, offered him the Vice Chancellorship. Edmund refused, preferring the position of chair of English which became vacant in 1953. A free house and financial security helped him make the decision to move his family to Hong Kong in September 1953.

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