Photo credits:
Johan Wahlgren

Barak Kushner

Fellow, SCAS.
Professor of East Asian History, University of Cambridge

Barak Kushner’s work primarily focuses on 19th–21st century Sino–Japanese relations and how
modern Japan emerged from its historical interaction with the rest of East Asia. He began his
career as a high school teacher in Chicago, and later traveled to Iwate, Japan, where he taught
English, lived in a Buddhist temple, and attended Japanese elementary school, studying Japanese
along with the young students. He has lived in Japan on and off for about seven years, and also
spent time teaching and studying in mainland China and Taiwan. After returning to the United States,
he received a PhD in history from Princeton University. He taught in the USA, worked briefly for
the US State Department, and then found refuge once again in academia at the University of Cam-

Among other works, Kushner has penned three monographs: Men to Devils, Devils to Men:
Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice
(Winner of the American Historical Association's 2016
John K. Fairbank Prize); Slurp! A Social and Culinary History of Ramen – Japan’s Favorite Noodle
; and The Thought War: Japanese Imperial Propaganda. From 2013–2019 he managed an ERC
project, “The Dissolution of the Japanese Empire and the Struggle for Legitimacy in Postwar East
Asia, 1945–1965”, which will produce the forthcoming two volumes: Overcoming Empire in Post-
Imperial East Asia: Repatriation, Redress and Rebuilding
, and In the Ruins of the Japanese Empire:
Imperial Violence, State Destruction, and the Reordering of Modern East Asia

Kushner will use his time at the Collegium to work on a new monograph concerning the construction
of justice in postwar East Asia, examining how the end of Japan’s empire affected the new international

This information is accurate as of the academic year 2019-20.