New Books from Japan

In the “New Books From Japan” series, the presenter will introduce their book in Japanese, and the discussant will provide comments in English. Participants may speak in either Japanese or English during the Q & A and discussion.

“New Books From Japan” シリーズでは、発表者は日本語で発表し、討論者は英語で討論いたします。参加者は日本語‧英語どちらでも自由にお使いください。同時通訳はありません。

2023 Events

Thursday, June 1, 2023 | 9:00-10:30 PM Japan Standard Time
Wednesday, June 1, 2023 | 8:00-9:30 AM PM EST


New Books from Japan #1

「医学とキリスト教 日本におけるアメリカ・プロテスタントの医療宣教」

Medicine and Christianity: American Protestant Missionaries and their Medical Work in Japan

Presenter: 藤本大士 (Hiro Fujimoto, Kyoto University)

Discussant: Garrett Washington (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

This book is the first comprehensive study of the medical activities of American Protestant missionaries in Japan. Beginning in 1859, they offered medical care and education to Japanese people and established several hospitals, some of which still survive today, such as St. Luke’s International Hospital. However, historians have tended to overlook these activities since they have assumed that the Japanese medical community was strongly influenced by German doctors rather than American doctors. Medicine and Christianity situates these American missionaries in the history of medicine in Japan and considers the full range of their activities, including medical education for women, nursing training, postgraduate training for doctors, public health programs, and charity medicine.


Wednesday, July 5, 2023 | 9:00-10:30 AM Japan Standard Time
Tuesday, July 4, 2023 | 8:00-9:30 PM PM EST

New Books from Japan #2

首都の議会 近代移行期東京の政治秩序と都市改造

The Governing Assembly of the Capital City 

Presenter: 池田真歩 (Maho Ikeda, Hokkai-Gakuen University)

Discussant: Jordan Sand (Georgetown University)

What did the governing assembly mean to the capital city of Tokyo? With the transition from Edo to Tokyo, the status system was dismantled and the structure of the city's leadership class and the nature of its political power were reconstituted, as were the major points of contention attending the governance of the metropolitan region. By examining the negotiations between various interest groups across time, this book elucidates the role of the Tokyo assembly during the period of transition from the early modern period to the modern period.


Wednesday, September 13, 2023 | 9:00-10:30 PM Japan Standard Time  | 1:00-2:30 PM UK | 8:00-9:30 AM PM EDT

New Books from Japan #3

〈サラリーマン〉の文化史   あるいは「家族」と「安定」の近現代史

Desire for Stability: A Cultural History of the Salaryman in Modern Japan 

Presenter: 鈴木貴宇 (Suzuki Takane, Toho University)

Discussant: Irena Hayter (University of Leeds)

The figure of the "salaryman" emerged in tandem with the rise of Western-style corporations and civil organizations that accompanied Japan's modernization and industrialization starting from the Meiji Restoration. What factors fueled the spread of this type of white collar office work? When did the term "salaryman", nowadays a stereotyped image of a run-of-the-mill office worker, first become widespread in Japanese society? By what historical processes did the salaryman come to be seen as a symbol of social stability and ordinary family life? How has the salaryman been depicted in Japanese culture across different eras, including literature, movies, comics, and materials produced by labor unions? By examining a wide variety of historical materials, this book elucidates how the image of the salaryman evolved over time and how this group of ordinary office workers came to be lionized and celebrated as the backbone of Japan's "universal middle class" society.


Wednesday, November 1, 2023 | 9:00-10:30 AM Japan Standard Time
Tuesday, October 31, 2023 | 8:00-9:30 PM ET | 5:00-6:30 PM PT

New Books from Japan #4

原敬 -「平民宰相」の虚像と実像

Hara Takashi: Pioneer of Japanese Party Politics 

Presenter: 清水唯一朗 (Shimizu Yuichiro, Keio University)

Discussant: Paul Dunscomb (University of Alaska-Anchorage)

As the first "commoner" prime minister, Hara Takashi led the first full-fledged political party cabinet. Born in the Morioka domain, which had been defeated in the Boshin War, Hara studied hard and worked as a newspaper reporter before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and rising to the rank of Vice Minister. Thereafter, he joined Ito Hirobumi's Seiyukai party and became a party politician. Amidst the Taisho Political Crisis and the 1918 Rice Riots, he served as a cabinet minister, and then as party leader, implementing reforms that sometimes antagonized and sometimes compromised with the various factions based on pre-Meiji feudal domains. After becoming the first elected politician to become prime minister of Japan, he was assassinated in the midst of attempting to bring about far-sighted reforms. Although Hara has sometimes been described as autocratic and dictatorial, this book examines his original intentions and argues that Hara was a realist politician who was willing to forge difficult compromises with his political opponents in order to achieve his aims.


Tuesday, December 12, 2023 | 9:00-10:30 PM Japan Standard Time | 7:00-8:30 AM ET | 4:00-5:30 AM PT

New Books from Japan #5


Chosenseki: A History of the Legal Marker of Koreans in Postwar Japan 

Presenter: 鄭栄桓 (Chong Young-hwan, Meiji Gakuin University)

Discussant: Sayaka Chatani (National University of Singapore)

On May 2, 1947, the concept of "Chosen nationality" appeared in the Japanese alien registration system for the first time, and has continued to exist until the present day. The history of this strange "nationality" given to Koreans who continued to live in Japan after liberation from colonial rule is elucidated through a close reading of primary source documents, including diplomatic correspondence between Japan and Korea; administrative documents of the Ministry of Justice and local governments; court records; and documents left behind by political parties and ethnic solidarity organizations.


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