Born and raised in Texas, Jack Seward's adult life was affected by a summer job he had growing up - working on a ranch in Oklahoma along with two workers from Japan. They taught him some of their language. When WWII started, he joined at 18 and his knowledge of Japanese got him a commission and work in Military Intelligence. That job transitted to the CIA when it was founded.
He left the Agency after a time and went into the private sector. His deep interest and understanding of the culture and the people was rewarded in 1986 by the Order of the Sacred Treasure from Emperor Hirohito.