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Modern Japan History Association Book Prize

The 2nd annual Modern Japan History Association Book Prize winner will be awarded in early 2025 to an outstanding English-language book on modern Japan or Japanese history published in 2023.


The winner will receive a monetary prize of $1,000 USD.

Guidelines for Submission

  • Full consideration will be given to books substantially illuminating the history of modern and contemporary Japan (1868-present), as well as books exploring the historical roots of modern Japanese society and culture. Provided this condition is met, books from any academic discipline and books covering earlier eras of history are eligible.
  • To be eligible, books must be a first edition with a copyright year of 2023.
  • Books must be originally published in English. Translations of books originally published in other languages will not be considered.
  • Reference works, exhibition catalogs, multi-authored collections of essays, textbooks, original poetry or fiction, memoirs, or autobiographies are not eligible.
  • Authors need not be members of the MJHA.
  • Only publishers and MJHA members may nominate a book for consideration.
  • Upon receipt of a completed nomination form, nominators will be provided with addresses for prize committee members. One copy of the book must be sent to each member of the committee to insure full consideration.
  • To receive full consideration books shipped to committee members must be postmarked by June 30, 2024.


Nominations must be sent by June 30, 2024 to be eligible for the 2025 award.

Nomination Form

The same nomination form is used for both the MJHA Book Prize and the F. Hilary Conroy First Book Prize. Each book needs to be submitted only once for both prizes. All books submitted once will automatically be considered for both prizes, if eligible.

To submit a nomination, please use the form found HERE.

2025 Prize Committee

University of Colorado

Lafayette College

Rutgers University

2024 MJHA Book Prize Finalists

1. Jessamyn Abel, Dream Super-Express: A Cultural History of the World’s First Bullet Train (Stanford University Press, 2022)

2. Brian Hurley, Confluence and Conflict: Reading Transwar Japanese Literature and Thought (Harvard University Asia Center, 2022)

3. Sherzod Muminov, Eleven Winters of Discontent: The Siberian Internment and the Making of a New Japan (Harvard University Press, 2022)

2024 MJHA Book Prize Winner

Jessamyn R. Abel

Author of Dream Super-Express: A Cultural History of the World's First Bullet Train (Stanford University Press, 2022) 

Dream Super-Express sheds fresh light on postwar Japan’s rise to technological and economic superstardom. Integrating the histories of technology, infrastructure, economics, politics, diplomacy, and empire, Abel provides compelling new insights on the “long 1960s” in Japan. Elegantly organized along an expanding spatial trajectory, the book details pragmatic and symbolic power struggles among ordinary people, elected representatives, technocrats, artists, and local, national, and international actors, all of whom had conflicting stakes in the development of the world’s then-fastest mass transit vehicle. In the process, Abel illuminates both the promise and pitfalls of democracy, technocracy, economic growth, and civic activism. 

The Modern Japan History Association is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported by member contributions.

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