Karl Haushofer and Japan (1): Geographers and Intellectual Links into the Fascist Period

This is the first in a multi-post project on German geographers and intellectuals and their interaction with Japan in the 1930s and 1940s, with a nominal focus on Manchuria and the border region between Manchukuo and colonial Korea. These are themes which I have begun exploring tentatively in a new journal publication entitled ‘ ‘Owen Lattimore and Research on the Sino-Korean Borderlands, 1931-1945‘ (European Journal of … Continue reading Karl Haushofer and Japan (1): Geographers and Intellectual Links into the Fascist Period

Report on Opium in China from the German Embassy in Tokyo, 1944

On June 8, 1944, the German Embassy in Tokyo sent a report back to the Auswärtiges Amt, or Foreign Ministry. Unlike so many other files dealing with foreign affairs, at this particular dispatch showed no signs of Ribbentrop’s blue pencil — the German foreign minister was notoriously narcissistic and had to see the full text of every article mentioning his name. Instead the leader dealt … Continue reading Report on Opium in China from the German Embassy in Tokyo, 1944

American Weimar: On Hitler, Obama, and BR Myers’ Diminution of Juche

This essay was written in Seattle in October 2011. Today I spent some time leafing through a solemn black notebook filled with sketches made primarily in the stacks at the University of Washington Suzzalo Library, reminding myself that not all good research is immediately digitized. Sometimes it takes a few months before a certain concept can swim down to the bottom of one’s consciousness and take … Continue reading American Weimar: On Hitler, Obama, and BR Myers’ Diminution of Juche

The WIDF and the Debate over Korean War Crimes

In a  recent essay for Japan Focus, Rutgers University historian Suzy Kim includes a retrospective on the Women’s International Democratic Federation’s 1951 report from North Korea and that delegation’s function as a cornerstone in what she calls “a feminist history of Women Cross DMZ” 2015. Having spent the last couple of days researching the WIDF in the Bundesarchiv in Berlin, I absolutely agree with Dr. … Continue reading The WIDF and the Debate over Korean War Crimes

Opera North and ‘The Flying Dutchman’: A Review

While having ostensibly little to do with the East Asian themes that normally permeate this website, the following post is connected to my interest in German classical music and specifically opera. Regular readers more interested in Northeast Asia can trace Wagner’s relevance for studies of state-driven culture in the region more fully via my article ‘North Korean Hip-hop? Reflections on Musical Diplomacy and the DPRK‘ (Acta … Continue reading Opera North and ‘The Flying Dutchman’: A Review

Angela Merkel and Japan’s Wartime Past

The German Chancellor was in Tokyo for a couple of eventful days. Although Merkel sees Abe Shinzo regularly, she noted before leaving  that she has not been to Japan, the country that she tactfully calls “Germany’s second-biggest trading partner in Asia” (after China, naturally), since 2008. There cannot be a great deal of desire on Merkel’s part to talk about World War II amid the rest of … Continue reading Angela Merkel and Japan’s Wartime Past

New European Writing on North Korea

In terms of high-quality research being done on North Korea and its ties in Northeast Asia, a great deal of good scholarly work is being done these days in Europe. Look no further than two autumn conferences: This coming weekend sees a major North Korea conference hosted by Hazel Smith at the University of Central Lancashire (UK). With a keynote by Donald Gregg, the conference … Continue reading New European Writing on North Korea