Japan's World War II in Asia: 70 Years On


Speakers (alphabetically)

Michael A. Barnhart is Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair of the History Department at Stony Brook University. He has written Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 1919-1941 and Japan and the World Since 1868. He is currently working on a two-volume survey of the politics of American foreign relations from Jamestown to Obama, tentatively titled E Pluribus.

Janet Borland is Research Assistant Professor (History of Child and Youth Health) in the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong. Upon completing her PhD in Japanese History at the University of Melbourne in 2008, Borland held an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at Murdoch University from 2009 until 2011. Her current research explores the impact of the Great Kanto Earthquake that destroyed Tokyo in 1923 on children, schools and education in 1920s Japan. She is completing a manuscript entitled “Showcases of New Tokyo: Rebuilding Schools and Society after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.”  Borland has published three articles on the earthquake in the journals Japanese Studies and Modern Asian Studies.

Paul Clark is Coordinator of East Asian Studies and Associate Professor of History at West Texas A&M University.  He is the author of The Kokugo Revolution: Education, Identity and Language Policy in Imperial Japan (Japan Research Monograph, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley, 2009).

Haruko Taya Cook is Professor Emerita of Marymount College of Fordham University and Instructor and Japanese Language Coordinator, Department of Languages & Cultures at William Paterson University. Her current research focuses on Japan's wartime experience and the consequences for individuals of decision-maker's choices, women and society, and an examination of the literary and cultural representation of Japan's modern wars. She is co-author of Japan at War: An Oral History (New Press 1992, 2003) and has contributed book chapters and articles on a wide range of topics including “Women’s Deaths as Weapons of War in Japan’s Final Battle” and “The Many Lives of Living Soldiers: Ishikawa Tatsuzô and Japan’s War in China.” A State Department Certified Escort Interpreter, she has served in many roles and contributed to media projects throughout her career, which began as an NHK TV/radio producer.

Theodore F. Cook is Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies at William Paterson University of New Jersey. His research centers on the social and political history of the Japanese military, the comparative study of war in the 20th Century, and war and memory in shaping of Japanese culture. He is co-author of Japan at War: An Oral History (New Press 1992, 2003) and articles on Japan's war and history including a chapter in Japanese on the soldiers and the state in Meiji Japan for Iwanami Press. He has been a Visiting Foreign Scholar at Japan's National Museum of History, Visiting Research Scholar at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Australian Defence Force Academy and Australian War Memorial, Secretary of the Navy Fellow and Visiting Professor of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Research of Tokyo University.

Alexis Dudden is Professor of History at the University of Connecticut where she teaches courses on modern Japanese and Korean history. She is the author of Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the United States (Columbia, 2008) and Japan’s Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power (Hawaii, 2005) as well as the author of numerous articles. She is a frequent contributor to Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, of which she is also a board member. Currently, Dudden is writing a modern history (1850-2010) of Northeast Asia’s oceans and islands in contention today.  She is also actively chronicling the ongoing crises in Japan involving the Fukushima plant meltdown and the dumping of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean.

Sheldon Garon is the Nissan Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Princeton University. A specialist in modern Japanese history, he also writes transnational history examining the flow of ideas and institutions among the U.S., Japan, and several European and Asian nations. Publications include Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves (2012), Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life (1997), The State and Labor in Modern Japan (1987, awarded the John K. Fairbank Prize), and the co-edited volume The Ambivalent Consumer: Questioning Consumption in East Asia and the West (2006).

Andrew Gordon is the Lee and Juliet Folger Professor of History at Harvard University. He has served as Director of the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies (1998-2004) and Chair of the History Department (2004-7) at Harvard. His teaching and research focuses primarily on modern Japan. His books include The Evolution of Labor Relations in Japan: Heavy Industry, 1853-1955 (Harvard 1985), Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan (California, 1991), The Wages of Affluences: Labor and Management in Postwar Japan (Harvard 1998), A Modern History of Japan (Oxford, 2002), and The Unknown Story of Matsuzaka’s Major League Revolution (Asahi Shinbun, 2007, in Japanese.) His latest book, Fabricating Consumers: The Sewing Machine in Japan, will be published by the University of California Press in fall 2011. He has also published an edited volume and two translations from Japanese to English.

Janet Hunter is Saji Professor of Economic History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research has focused on the history of Anglo-Japanese economic relations, the development of the female labor market in Japan, and the development of the communications industry, particularly the early development of the postal system. Her current research relates mainly to the economic impact of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Major publications include History of Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1600-2000, vol. 4, Economic and Business Relations (with S.Sugiyama) (2002); Women and the Labour Market in Japan's Industrializing Economy: the Textile Industry before the Pacific War (2003) (Japanese version published by Yuhikaku, 2008); The Historical Consumer: Everyday Life and Consumption in Japan 1850-2000 (with P.Francks, forthcoming, 2011/12).

Yoko (Nojima) Kato is Professor of Modern Japanese History in the Department of Japanese History, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Faculty of Letters, of the University of Tokyo. She received her Ph.D. in 1989 in Japanese History from the Graduate School of Humanities at the University of Tokyo, and taught at Yamanashi University. Her major publications include: Mosaku suru 1930nendai: Nichibei kankei to rikugun chûkensô [Groping Along: Japanese-American Relations and the Army’s Central Officers] (Yamakawa Shuppansha, 1993); Chôheisei to kindai Nihon, 1868-1945 [The Conscription System and Modern Japan] (Yoshikawa Kôbunkan, 1996); Sensô no Nihon kingendaishi [A History of Modern Japanese Wars] (Kôdansha, 2002); Sensô no ronri  [The Logic of War] (Keisô Shobô, 2005); Sore de mo Nihonjin wa ‘sensô’ o eranda [But the Japanese Still Chose War] (Asahi Shuppansha, 2009). Shôwa Tennô to Sensô no Seiki [The Shôwa Emperor and Century of War] (Kôdansha, 2011, coming soon). She also has translated Louise Young’s Japan’s Total Empire into Japanese (Iwanami Shoten, 2001).

Gregory Kasza is professor of Political Science and East Asian Languages & Cultures at Indiana University. He is the author of The State and the Mass Media in Japan, 1918-1945 (University of California Press, 1988), The Conscription Society (Yale University Press, 1995), and One World of Welfare: Japan in Comparative Perspective (Cornell University Press, 2006). Professor Kasza received his PhD in political science from Yale University in 1983, and he has held research appointments at Tokyo University, Kyoto University, Hitotsubashi University, Oxford University, and Harvard University.

Rotem Kowner is Professor of Japanese History and Culture at the University of Haifa, Israel. His current research interests concern the social and racial nexus between Japan and the West since the sixteenth century as well as wartime behavior and attitudes in Japan's modern war (with a particular interest in the issue of POWs). His books include The Forgotten Campaign (2005), Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War (2006), and The Rise of a Yellow Race: The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1640 (forthcoming); the edited volumes The Impact of the Russo-Japanese War (2007) and Rethinking the Russo-Japanese War (2007); and the co-edited volume Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western Constructions and Eastern Reactions (In press).

Janis Mimura is Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She specializes in the political, economic, and intellectual history of modern Japan. She is the author of Planning for Empire: Reform Bureaucrats and the Japanese Wartime State (Cornell University Press, 2011). Her current research examines Japan’s trans-war relations to Southeast Asia between 1940 and 1960, particularly from the perspective of Japanese policy debates on the “resource problem,” bureaucratic and business networks, and strategies of Asian development and regionalism.  

Aaron Moore is Lecturer in Modern East Asian History in the History Department of the University of Manchester. He is the author of The Perils of Self-Discipline: Soldiers Record the Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1937-1945 (Harvard University Press, forthcoming) and numerous articles. He is currently working on a book project entitled, “What Can Be Said: Growing Up in a World at War,” an examination of personal documents of children and adolescents in China, Japan, England, and the Soviet Union from 1930 to 1945.

Masanori Nakamura is Professor Emeritus of Hitotsubashi University. His many books include Rôdôsha to nômin [Workers and Farmers] (Shogakkan, 1976), Kindai Nihon jinushiseishi kenkyû [Studies in the History of the Modern Japanese Landlord System] (Tokyo University, 1979), Shôwa no kyôkô [The Shôwa Depression] (Shogakkan, 1982), O-raruhisutori [Oral History] (Kanagawa University, 2011), and Shiba Ryôtarô no rekishi ishiki [The Historical Awareness of Shiba Ryôtarô] (Iwanami, 2011). He is currently writing, at the request of the Kadokawa Publishing Company, a history of himself and his development as a historian.

Charles Schencking is Chairperson of the History Department at the University of Hong Kong. His research and teaching interests revolve around modern Japanese history with a focus on the history of natural disasters and reconstruction, the history of war, state, and society, and more generally, Meiji-Taishō era political, economic, military, and social history. His current research aims to transform our understanding of one of the most destructive, deadly, and costly natural disasters of the 20th century: The Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. The book-length monograph for this project is under contract with Columbia University Press. It is entitled: Japan’s Earthquake Calamity: The Great Kantō Earthquake and the Chimera of National Reconstruction. He is also author of Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, and the Emergence of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922 (Stanford, 2005).

Naoko Shimazu is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of Japanese Society at War: Death, Memory and the Russo-Japanese War (University of Cambridge Press, 2009), Nationalisms in Japan (editor, Routledge, 2006), and Japan, Race and Equality: The Racial Equality Proposal of 1919 (Routledge, 1998). Her current major research is a cultural history of diplomacy, examining the Bandung Conference of 1955 by constructing a methodological framework of 'diplomacy as theatre'. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Research Affiliate of Modern East Asia Research Centre, University of Leiden.

Eiko Maruko Siniawer is Associate Professor of History at Williams College. She is the author of Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860-1960 which examines the ways in which ruffianism became embedded and institutionalized in the practice of modern Japanese politics. In a departure from this work on political violence, her current research is on the history of waste, wastefulness, and wastelands in postwar Japan. She holds a PhD in history and an A.M. in East Asian studies from Harvard University, and a B.A. in history from Williams College.

Richard Smethurst is Professor of History and University Center for International Studies Research Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. His current research focuses on the origins of Japan’s World War II in Asia, and on industrial policy debates in mid-Meiji Japan. He has published three books, A Social Basis for Prewar Japanese Militarism (California 1974), Agricultural Development and Tenancy Disputes in Japan, 1870-1940 (Princeton, 1986), and From Foot Soldier to Finance Minister: Takahashi Korekiyo, Japan’s Keynes (Harvard 2007), and many articles and book chapters. Tôyô Keizai Shinpôsha published a Japanese translation of the Takahashi book in 2010. He is also one of the creators of a website of the woodblock prints of the Japanese noh theatre by the artist Tsukioka Kôgyo (1869-1927): http://digital.library.pitt.edu/k/kogyo/.

Sandra Wilson is Professor of Japanese Studies and a Fellow of the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Western Australia. She is the author of The Manchurian Crisis and Japanese Society, 1931-33 (Routledge, 2002), editor of Nation and Nationalism in Japan (Routledge, 2002), co-editor of The Russo-Japanese War in Cultural Perspective, 1904-05 (Macmillan, 1999) and editor of Basil Archer, Interpreting Occupied Japan: Diary of an Australian Soldier, 1945-1946 (Hesperian, 2009). Her latest article is "Enthroning Hirohito: Culture and Nation in 1920s Japan," Journal of Japanese Studies, Summer 2011. She has two current research projects: one on Japanese nationalism and one on the repatriation of convicted Japanese war criminals from Southeast Asia and their subsequent release, 1946-1958.

Samuel Yamashita is the Henry E. Sheffield Professor of History at Pomona College, where he has taught since 1983. Yamashita has written extensively on early modern and modern Japanese intellectual and cultural history, and his first book, Master Sorai's Responsals ,a translation of Ogyū Sorai's Sorai sensei tōmonsho, was published by the University of Hawai’i Press in 1994. He is also the co-translator of The Four-Seven Debate: An Annotated Translation of the Most Famous Controversy in Korean Neo-Confucian Thought (SUNY Press, 1995). In the 1990s, Yamashita collected over 110 diaries by Japanese adults, servicemen, teenagers, and children and has published eight of them in Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary Japanese (Hawai’i,  2005). He is currently working on two food projects: the first is a history of Pacific Rim fusion cuisine, and the second a history of Japanese food, especially during World War II.


             The conference has been organized by Professor Richard Smethurst of the Pitt history department, with the assistance of the staff of the University’s Asian Studies Center. Funding has been provided by the Japan Iron and Steel Federation and Mitsubishi endowments of the University of Pittsburgh.  Everyone is welcome, but space is limited.  For more information please or to RSVP, contact Dianne Dakis in the Asian Studies Center, dakis@pitt.edu.

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