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

Napalm and Invasion: North Korean War Memory and British Sources

In a recent post on his black-and-white personal blog, the North Korea scholar B.R. Myers criticizes a recent ream of journalistic think pieces about the function of Korean War memory in the DPRK. The essays, Myers writes, uncritically accept the argument that North Korean memories of US bombing from 1950-53 are a foremost justification today for the pursuit of a nuclear deterrent. To put it another way, Myers … Continue reading Napalm and Invasion: North Korean War Memory and British Sources

Recent Histories of (Local) Violence in the Korean War

Today I received a stunning new text: Su-kyoung Hwang’s monograph Korea’s Grievous War (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). A link to the publisher’s description of the book is here. Dr. Hwang received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, teaches at the University of Sydney, and has put together a very impressive work. She appears to go well beyond the issues laid out in Kim Dong-choon’s book from … Continue reading Recent Histories of (Local) Violence in the Korean War

Wartime History and Beijing’s Response to the New Defence Minister in Tokyo

In the wake of the Upper House elections in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has completed a reshuffling of his cabinet. As described by Japan hand Michael Cucek, it was not a particularly inspiring set of choices made by the newly-consolidated Prime Minister: Taro Aso (the right-wing former PM perhaps best recalled for his off-the-cuff endorsement of Hitler’s constitutional revision style) remains at the helm … Continue reading Wartime History and Beijing’s Response to the New Defence Minister in Tokyo

North Korea, Opposition Politics, and British Nuclear Deterrence

I wrote the following piece for The Guardian, the stalwart newspaper for whose North Korea Network I have done a handful of essays and events over the past couple of years. After much back and forth and revision, it was ultimately left on the cutting-room floor in London. Such are the risks taken by academics moonlighting as journalists! Fortunately it was picked up by the … Continue reading North Korea, Opposition Politics, and British Nuclear Deterrence

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

The Bombs Kept Falling in the Wake of Hiroshima

In a Saturday essay for the Yorkshire Post, a very fine newspaper based in Leeds, I argue that there is more continuity than rupture in the historical legacy of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima: On the 70th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima, it bears recalling that it was the atomic method of devastation, and not the devastation itself, that shocked observers in 1945. The … Continue reading The Bombs Kept Falling in the Wake of Hiroshima