Masuda Hajimu (family name Masuda) is a historian of modern Japan and East Asia, U.S. foreign relations, and the Cold War and decolonization in Asia. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2012, and currently is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore (NUS). From September 2017 to May 2018, he served as a residential fellow in the History and Policy Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. He is the author of Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (Harvard University Press, 2015), and has published a number of book chapters and articles which can be found in Foreign PolicyDiplomatic HistoryJournal of Contemporary HistoryJournal of Cold War Studies, and Journal of American-East Asian Relations, as well as IIAS Newsletter and History News Network (HNN).

Research Program

An overarching and central theme of my research is the evolving power of the people, regardless of political spectrum or geography, with particular attention toward ordinary people’s violence and the recurrent rise of grassroots conservatism in the globalized world of the 20th century. Therefore, my research ranges from political and diplomatic history to social and cultural history. Currently I am at work on with a number of projects, including two books. First, I am working on my second book, tentatively titled “Purity and Order: Social Warfare in Wartime and Cold War Japan.” Its core idea is to examine the global history of grassroots social conservatism through utilizing case studies of Japan and Northeast Asia, with particular attention to recurrent rightist backlashes involving gender, ethnicity, and labor in the 1920s-1950s. While conventional wisdom has characterized these backlashes in terms of wartime mobilization and Cold War politics, my study reveals popular irritation and hatred on the ground toward newly rising social forces, such as “new women,” ethnic minorities (Zainichi Koreans), and labor movements, which were often viewed as threatening and damaging the purity and order of Japan. Highlighting this phenomenon, which was shared in many parts of the world simultaneously, this study uses Japan and Northeast Asia’s experiences as case studies to analyze the recurring pattern of everyday violence involving grassroots nativist sentiments in the twentieth century.


See My updated CV here. (PDF file)

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Department of History
National University of Singapore
Block AS 01-05-44, 11 Arts Link
Singapore 117570
Email: hishm [at] nus.edu.sg

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