Yearly Archives: 2017

On the Transnational Destruction of Cities: What Japan and the U.S. Learned from the Bombing of Britain and Germany in World War II

Date: 27 November 2017

Professor Sheldon Garon delivered a very detailed and transnationally oriented talk to a packed house concerning his most recent research. Forecasting his future book, Garon explained to the audience the nexus of “learning” that took place among the various warring nations of WWII concerning how to more effectively bomb civilian and military targets. Garon’s investigations reveal that contrary to the myth of Japanese wartime isolation it was actually quite aware of and interacting with what was happening in wartime Europe. Lastly, his conclusion helped listeners call into question, once again, the issue of how and why WWII was brought to an end and cast doubt on the use of the atomic bomb as a deciding factor.

Event Poster


The shifting landscape from imperial to postwar East Asia: War Crimes, Trials, and the Geography of Power

Date: 21-25 September 2017

From 21 September to 25 September, 2017 Dr. Barak Kushner (University of Cambridge) hosted Dr. Chang Chihyun (Shanghai Jiaotong University), Professor Kishi Toshihiko (Kyoto University), and GIS specialist He Jiawei from Feng Chia University (Taiwan), along with graduate students from Shanghai Jiaotong University, Leeds and Bristol Universities. Over several days the group cooperated in the building of a website to geographically analyze the shifting landscape of power from imperial to postwar East Asia. The goal was to plot the location and time of Japanese war crimes and create a database that can be used to lay out a visual geographical map of both the violence during the war and how justice was pursued by trials in the aftermath. The event was held at at the University of Cambridge and funded by a Cambridge Humanities Research Grant.

Workshop Agenda

Summary of Workshop (Chinese)


The Reality of Postwar Revolution: A View of the Tokyo Preventive Detention Center and Asian Marxism

Date: 20 September 2017

How did the leadership of the Japanese Communist Party, which had been ruthlessly oppressed since the late-1920s, emerge suddenly after defeat in 1945 to become one of the most organized and powerful political groups in post-imperial Japan? In a guest seminar, Professor Suzuki Norio of Aichi University presented his latest research on the postwar Japan Communist Party and the idea of postwar revolution. Suzuki began with a discussion of the state of archival material on the Japan Communist Party, as well as ongoing efforts of Japanese historians to document party activities during the early-Cold War. In particular, Suzuki’s presentation broke new historical ground by focusing on the hitherto neglected role of the Tokyo Preventive Detention Center as the wartime crucible of the banned Communist Party, from where party leaders and affiliated members debated the shape of the postwar world, the future role of the emperor system, as well as objective conditions for revolution in Japan and East Asia. Through the lives of postwar Japanese Communist Party leaders, such as Tokuda Kyuichi, Nosaka Sanzo, and Ito Ritsu, this presentation revealed the way individual lives and political careers rose and fell with shifts in political and ideological alignments between Moscow and Peking. Bringing together the strands of the wartime and postwar Japanese Communist Party, Suzuki provided a powerful demonstration of the need to see late-imperial and postwar Japanese political history as international history. (The talk and discussion were held in Japanese).

Workshop Poster


Digital Media and Charting the Geography of Power in East Asia

Date: 28-30 June 2017

Location: Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge

This international conference was held at the Faculty of Classics, across the courtyard, because the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is undergoing reconstruction. For several days invited guests, participants, and observers from Cambridge, the University of Heidelberg, the University of East Anglia, Lafayette College (USA), Keio University, Waseda University and Kyoto University (Japan) discussed their individual and group efforts at website creation, database management, and digital preservation. Over three days the group presented six individual talks on digital humanities projects at their various institutions, methodologies for linking international projects, as well as digital “best practices” and tools for upgrading interoperability and software development. In addition, Huw Jones and Hal Blackburn of the Cambridge University Library Digital Humanities Unit also delivered talks on the current state of the digital humanities field in general, concerns with how to maintain sites and construct budgets or proposals, and offered insight on the implementation of past and present projects at Cambridge. Over several working lunches and dinners the group continued to engage in conversation about how to link our sites and expand on exchanging further information and datasets to meet new short and long term goals.

Conference Programme and Participant List


ERC Project Annual Research Seminar

Date: 16 June 2017

In this annual research seminar, the research team of the ERC Project “The Dissolution of the Japanese Empire” and guest researchers gathered to share their research findings and discuss future collaboration and projects.

Principal Investigator Dr. Barak Kushner opened the seminar by summarizing the project activities in the past year. His introduction was followed by a presentation by Mr. Hao Chen, a PhD researcher, who talked about the progress of his research on the rivalry for international recognition between the PRC and ROC. Dr. Andrew Levidis, research associate, then introduced his ongoing projects, including his book manuscript on the life and legacy of former prime minister Kishi Nobusuke, as well as his recent research article. The next presenter was Ms. Aiko Otsuka, a researcher on the project, who is close to completing her PhD dissertation on the topic of regimental histories in the Imperial Japanese Army. Following this, Dr. Sherzod Muminov provided an overview of his research activities in the past year, mentioning publications, invited talks, and conferences. Finally, the guest of the seminar, Mr. Ernest Leung, who is a researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, shared his investigations into the economic cooperation in East Asia in the 1920s. The presentations were followed by questions and debate.

Event Poster