Anthony J. “Tony” Bryant, 52, died Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, after a short illness.
Tony was born Feb. 14, 1961, in Franklin, where he lived with his parents, Robert M. (Bob) and Margaret Bryant, who adopted him at the age of 5.
After Bob Bryant’s untimely passing in 1967, Tony and his mother moved to Miami Shores, Fla., where he spent his youth
and attended Pinecrest Preparatory School.
He graduated from Florida State University in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese studies. Afterward, he lived in Tokyo from 1986 to 1992, where he completed his graduate degree in Japanese studies (history,
language and armor) at Takoshoku University in Tokyo, graduating in 1986.
An authority on the making of Japanese armor, he joined the Nihon Katchu Bugu Kenyu Hozon Kai (“Japan Association for Arms and Armor Preservation”) and was one of four non-Asian members. While living in Japan, he wrote for local magazines, including Wings, the in-flight magazine for Japan Air Lines, and was the features editor for the Mainichi Daily News and the editor at Tokyo Journal, a monthly magazine.
He was a distinguished historian of medieval Japan, specializing in the Kamakura, Muromachi and Momoyama periods warrior culture, the Heian-period court structure and Japanese literature. He was the historical consultant on many films.
Tony wrote four books on military history for London’s Osprey Publishing and co-authored, with Mark Arsenault, the core rulebook for the feudal Japanese role-playing game Sengoku. He is the author of such Internet Japanese resources as “An Online Manual of Japanese Armour Construction,” “An Online Japanese Miscellany,” “A History of Japanese Clothing and Accessories” and “A Basic Introduction to Classical Japanese,” as well as several essays on historical Japanese topics.
He was also an esteemed member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and was interviewed often on Japanese television and was a guest on educational talks shows many times.
Returning to the United States in 1992, he lived and worked in northern California’s bay area, where he became the editor of Dragon Magazine in 1995.
He then attended St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pa.
He soon found that he missed academia and joined the department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, which awarded him a Master of Arts in Japanese. His thesis was a translation and commentary of the Muromachi tale “Iwaya no soshi” (“The Tale of the Cave House”).
In recent years, Tony returned to Franklin, where he lovingly restored his parents’ first home and resided there and worked as a Japanese literary translator.
He was also a respected officer of the Franklin Masonic Lodge No. 107, F&AM, an officer with Baldwin Commandery No. 2 of Knights Templar in Shelby County and a member of the Murat Shrine and Indianapolis Valley of Scottish Rite.
Tony often mentioned how happy and content he was to be back in his hometown of Franklin. He was a kind and encouraging mentor and friend to so many locally and around the world, touching and inspiring others to achieve their personal best, as well as their goals and dreams.
He will be remembered fondly and missed profoundly by all who knew him.
Tony is survived by his beloved cousins, James D. “Jim” Bryant, Gregory Bryant, Carolyn (Bryant) McFarland and Lizabeth Bryant, all of Franklin, Daniel “Dan” Jones and Brett Marston, both of Indianapolis, and Stephanie (Bryant) Towner of Erie, Pa.; and his loving dog, Mr. BoBo.
A service will be conducted at 1 p.m. Monday in the Kresge Chapel at the Indiana Masonic Home, 690 S. State St. (Old U.S. 31) in Franklin. Friends may call from 11 a.m. until service time Monday at the chapel. Burial will be at Greenlawn Cemetery in Franklin following the service.
Flinn & Maguire Funeral Home in Franklin is handling arrangements.
Online condolences may be received at www.flinnmaguire.net