Documents on Crown Prince Hirohito’s visit to the United Kingdom in 1921

Historian Herbert Bix describes Hirohito’s long voyage to the United Kingdom in 1921 as a number of things: it was a test of the court and the conservatives in Tokyo (some factions did not want him to go at all), it was a means of showing the soon-to-be-regent some world trends, it was a possibly dangerous undertaking (he was ashore in Hong Kong for all … Continue reading Documents on Crown Prince Hirohito’s visit to the United Kingdom in 1921

Britain’s Global Cold War: Publications by Alexander Nicholas Shaw

One of the nice things about my job is that I get to work with some the most talented young historians in the field today. Alexander Shaw is one of those  working and publishing in international history. He is active in archives including the UK ‘Migrated Archives’ and addresses many questions pertinent to readers of this website. His work on British policy towards East & Southeast … Continue reading Britain’s Global Cold War: Publications by Alexander Nicholas Shaw

Questioning North Korea’s Narrative of the London Diplomat Defection

It took about three days for the North Korean state to put together the opening salvo to its official public response to the stunning defection of Thae Yong-ho from its Embassy in London, but it has now arrived. As I predicted in a Bloomberg interview on 17 August, the response has been quite nasty. There are several other aspects to the response that bear noting, … Continue reading Questioning North Korea’s Narrative of the London Diplomat Defection

Journalist Expulsions and Beijing’s Counterterrorism Narrative

2015 was supposedly a triumphant year for the Chinese Communist Party, but the CCP seemed determined to end the year on a landslide of insecurity with respect to the foreign journalists within its borders. The expulsion of French journalist Ursela Gauthier was, of course, the primary case in point. As Gauthier noted, her case was not just about her single report and subsequent failure to engage in … Continue reading Journalist Expulsions and Beijing’s Counterterrorism Narrative

Will China Disintegrate? A British Assessment in 1947

On either side of an energizing North Korea public event I did this past Friday in London, I make two treks out to the UK’s National Archives in Kew Gardens. My goal was explore Foreign Office papers about the U.S. occupation of Japan with a focus on war crimes tribunals and Chinese public opinion, and the Korean War with a focus on atrocities in South Hwanghae … Continue reading Will China Disintegrate? A British Assessment in 1947

From Hyesan to London: Hyeonseo Lee and the New North Korea Defector Memoir

Hyeonseo Lee has produced an excellent memoir, a text which, along with John Sweeney and Emma Graham-Harrison, I will be discussing with her at an event organized by The Guardian in London tomorrow night. Having worked my way through a review copy of the text this past week, I am happy to convey that the book goes beyond some of the now-stereotypical gestures of the … Continue reading From Hyesan to London: Hyeonseo Lee and the New North Korea Defector Memoir

On Northern Ireland and Hong Kong

Telling the story of Hong Kong from 1840-now, Northern Ireland — or the six counties of Ulster — may seem an odd place to begin. What, after all, could be further away from Hong Kong’s density, its economic fecundity, its almost magnetic international capital and trade flows, its apparently successful blending of Asian and Western traditions, sitting perpetually as it does within the nook — … Continue reading On Northern Ireland and Hong Kong