SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

SOAS Studies in Modern and Contemporary Japan

SERIES EDITOR: Christopher Gerteis (SOAS, University of London)

EDITORIAL BOARD: Stephen Dodd (SOAS, University of London) I Andrew Gerstle (SOAS, University of London) I Janet Hunter (London School of Economics) I Barak Kushner (University of Cambridge) I Helen Macnaughtan (SOAS, University of London) I Aaron W Moore (University of Edinburgh) I Timon Screech (SOAS, University of London) I Naoko Shimazu (NUS-Yale College, Singapore) 

The SOAS Studies in Modern and Contemporary Japan series features new research monographs as well as translations of scholarship not previously available in English. Our goal is to publish high quality, peer-reviewed research on Japan and its history, politics and culture.

For more information visit the Bloomsbury Publishing website.

Published works include:

Engineering Asia. Technology, Colonial Development, And The Cold War Order

Engineering Asia. Technology, Colonial Development, And The Cold War Order. 
Edited By: Hiromi Mizuno, Aaron S. Moore, John Dimoia

Weaving together chapters on imperial Japan's wartime mobilization, Asia's first wave of postwar decolonization, and Cold War geopolitical conflict in the region, Engineering Asia seeks to demonstrate how Asia's present prosperity did not arise from a so-called 'economic miracle' but from the violent and dynamic events of the 20th century. The book argues that what continued to operate throughout these tumultuous eras were engineering networks of technology. Constructed at first for colonial development under Japan, these networks transformed into channels of overseas development aid that constituted the Cold War system in Asia.

Japan’s occupation of java in the second world war

Japan’s Occupation Of Java In The Second World War. A Transnational History
By: Ethan Mark

Japan's Occupation of Java in the Second World War draws upon written and oral Japanese, Indonesian, Dutch and English-language sources to narrate the Japanese occupation of Java as a transnational intersection between two complex Asian societies, placing this narrative in a larger wartime context of domestic, regional, and global crisis.

Japan's occupation of Java is here revealed in a radically new and nuanced light, as an ambiguous encounter revolutionary in the degree of mutual interests that drew the two sides together, fascinating and tragic in its evolution, and profound in the legacies left behind. Mark structures his study around a diverse group of Japanese and Indonesians captivated by the wartime vision of a 'Greater Asia.' The book is not only the first transnational study of Japan's wartime occupation of Java, but the first to focus on the Second World War experience in transnational terms 'on the ground' anywhere in Asia.

Gathering for Tea in Modern Japan

Gathering for Tea in Modern Japan: Class, Culture and Consumption in the Meiji Period
By: Taka Oshikiri

By examining chanoyu - the custom of consuming matcha tea - in the Meiji period, Gathering for Tea in Modern Japan investigates the interactions between intellectual and cultural legacies of the Tokugawa period and the incoming influences of Western ideas, material cultures and institutions. It explores the construction of Japan's modern cultural identity, highlighting the development of new social classes, and the transformation of cultural practices and production-consumption networks of the modern era.

The History of Japanese Psychology: Global Perspectives, 1875-1950

The History of Japanese Psychology: Global Perspectives, 1875-1950
By: Brian J. McVeigh (University of Albany)

The birth of Japanese psychology was more than a mere adaptation to the challenges of modernity: it heralded a transformation of the very mental processes it claimed to be exploring. With detailed appendices, tables and charts to provide readers with a meticulous and thorough exploration of the subject and adopting a truly comparative perspective, The History of Japanese Psychology prove to be a unique study that will be valuable to students and scholars of Japanese intellectual history and the history of psychology. The History of Japanese Psychology is nothing short of a landmark achievement in the history of psychology.

Mass media, consumerism and national identity in postwar japan

Mass Media, Consumerism and National Identity in Postwar Japan
By: Martyn David Smith

Mass Media, Consumerism and National Identity in Postwar Japan addresses Japan's evolving nationalism and national identity in relation to its newly rising consumerism during the two decades from 1952 to 1972, through a study of the transformation of the print media and the market for weekly and monthly magazines.

IMG - Laura Hein

Post-Fascist Japan: Political Culture in Kamakura after the Second World War
By: Laura Hein
Late 1945 local Japanese turned their energies toward creating new behaviors and institutions that would give young people better skills to combat repression at home and coercion abroad. They rapidly transformed their political culture-policies, institutions, and public opinion-to create a more equitable, democratic and peaceful society.  By focusing on people who had an outsized influence on Japan’s political culture, Hein’s study is local, national, and transnational. She grounds her discussion using specific personalities, showing their ideas about ‘post-fascism’, how they implemented them and how they interacted with the American occupiers.

IMG - Sari Kawana

The Uses of Literature in Modern Japan: Histories and Cultures of the Book
By: Sari Kawana

The Uses of Literature in Modern Japan explores the varying uses of literature in Japan from the late Meiji period to the present, considering how creators, conveyors, and consumers of literary content have treated texts and their authors as cultural resources to be packaged, promoted, and preserved.  Moving beyond close reading of texts to look at their historical context, the book will appeal not only to scholars of modern Japanese literature but also those studying the history of the book and modern Japanese cultural history.

Japan's Postwar Military and Civil Society by Tomoyuki Sasaki

Japan's Postwar Military and Civil Society: Contesting a Better Life
By: Tomoyuki Sasaki (Eastern Michigan University)

Japan's Postwar Military and Civil Society details the interactions between the SDF and civil society over four decades, from the launch of rearmament in 1950. These interactions include recruitment, civil engineering, disaster relief, anti-SDF litigation, state financial support for communities with bases, and a fear-mongering campaign against the Soviet Union. By examining these wide-range issues, the book demonstrates how the militarization of society advanced as the SDF consolidated its ideological and socio-economic ties with civil society and its role as a defender of popular welfare. While postwar Japan is often depicted as a peaceful society, this book challenges such a view, and illuminates the prominent presence of the military in people's everyday lives.


Japanese Taiwan Edited by Andrew D. Morris

Japanese Taiwan: Colonial Rule and its Contested Legacy
Editor: Andrew D. Morris (California Polytechnic State University)

Japanese Taiwan provides an interdisciplinary perspective on these related processes of colonization and decolonization, explaining how the memories, scars and traumas of the colonial era have been utilized during the postwar period. It provides a unique critique of the 'Japaneseness' of the erstwhile Chinese Taiwan, thus bringing new scholarship to bear on problems in contemporary East Asian politics.



Politics and Power in 20th-Century Japan: The Reminiscences of Miyazawa Kiichi

Politics and Power in 20th-Century Japan: The Reminiscences of Miyazawa Kiichi
By: Mikuriya Takashi (Open University of Japan), Nakamura Takafusa (Tokyo University)

Miyazawa Kiichi played a leading role in Japan's government and politics from 1942 until 2003, during which time he served as Prime Minister, and also as Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Director General of the Economic Planning Agency, and Chief Cabinet Secretary. In this oral history autobiography, he discusses with candor and detail a wide range of topics, including his 1939 visit to the United States, recovery policies during the postwar occupation, the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and Japan's role in international organizations such as GATT and OECD, and gives a thoughtful insider's view of six decades of Japanese politics, closing with his thoughts on Japan's role in the 21st century.


Debating Otaku in Contemporary Japan

Debating Otaku in Contemporary Japan: Historical Perspectives and New Horizons
Editors: Patrick W. Galbraith (Duke University), Thiam Huat Kam (Rutgers, University of New Jersey), Björn-Ole Kamm (Kyoto University)

Debating Otaku in Contemporary Japan disrupts the naturalization and trivialization of 'otaku' by examining the historical contingency of the term as a way to identify and contain problematic youth, consumers and fan cultures in Japan. Its chapters, many translated from Japanese and available in English for the first time explore key moments in the evolving discourse of 'otaku' in Japan. Rather than presenting a smooth, triumphant narrative of the transition of a subculture to the mainstream, the edited volume repositions 'otaku' in specific historical, social and economic contexts, providing new insights into the significance of the 'otaku' phenomenon in Japan and the world.


Contemporary Sino-Japanese Relations on Screen - book cover

Contemporary Sino-Japanese Relations on Screen: A History, 1989-2005
By: Griseldis Kirsch (SOAS University of London)

Covering the years from 1989 to 2005, this book looks at Sino-Japanese relations through film and television drama in the crucial time of China's ascent to an economic superpower in opposition to Japan's own ailing economy. It provides an overview of how Japan views China through its visual media, offers explanations as to how oppositions between the two countries came to exist, and how and why certain myths about China have been conveyed. 


Jan Bardsley - Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan
Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan

By: Jan Bardsley (University of North Carolina, USA)

Examining the shifting personae of the housewife, especilly in the appealing texts of women’s magazines, Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan reveals the diverse possibilities of postwar democracy as they were embedded in media directed toward Japanese women.





Emily Anderson: Christianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan

Christianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan: Empire for God
By: Emily Anderson (Washington State University, USA)

Christianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan explores how Japanese Protestants engaged with the unsettling changes that resulted from Japan's emergence as a world power in the early twentieth century.






The China Problem in Postwar Japan by Robert Hoppens

The China Problem in Postwar Japan
By: Robert Hoppens (University of Texas Pan-American, USA) 

The China Problem in Postwar Japan challenges some common assertions or assumptions about the role of Japanese national identity in postwar Sino-Japanese relations, showing how the history of Japanese relations with China in the 1970s is shaped by the strength of Japanese national identity, not its weakness.




Media, Propaganda and Politics in 20th-Century Japan by The Asahi Shimbun Company

Media, Propaganda and Politics in 20th-Century Japan 
By: The Asahi Shimbun Company

Media, Propaganda and Politics in 20th-Century Japan investigates the role played by the Asahi Newspaper, one of Japan's largest daily newspapers, as a mediator of information and power during the 20th century, explores the relationship between media and society during the postwar era and into the 21st century. 




We welcome proposals for new books in the series. If you would like to discuss contributing, please get in touch with the series editor at