Masuda Hajimu (PhD Cornell 2012) is a historian at the National University of Singapore, and the author of Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (Harvard University Press, 2015). His work concerns the modern history of Japan and East Asia, the history of U.S. foreign relations, and the social and global history of the Cold War. An overarching theme of his research is the evolving power of the ordinary people, regardless of any political spectrum, with particular attention to intersections between war and society and politics and culture in the mid-20th century. He is currently working on his second book on Japan’s social and grassroots experience of war and occupation, with a particular focus on the recurrent rise of grassroots conservative backlashes from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Project Summary

This project examines Japan's immediate postwar period, aiming at re-interpreting the phenomenon known as the "Reverse Course." While it is commonly viewed as a product of America's Cold War strategy, my study intends to reveal social and cultural conflicts underneath Cold War narratives, depicting the Reverse Course primarily as a social conservative backlash which developed in opposition to various socio-cultural changes that emerged throughout war and occupation. In doing so, it intends to show new dynamics between occupiers and occupied, re-framing common conceptions about the practice of occupation in many parts of the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Major Publications