Masuda Hajimu’s research focuses on 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. A former journalist for Mainichi Shinbun and the author of articles in Foreign Policy, Diplomatic History, Journal of Contemporary History, and the Journal of Cold War Studies, he has analyzed the evolving power of the people in the modern world, regardless of any political spectrum, with particular attention to intersections between war and society and politics and culture in the mid-20th century. His first book, Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World, published by Harvard University Press in

“What Was the Cold War? Imagined Reality, Ordinary People’s War, and Social Mechanism”: This article draws on and extends parts of Chapter 8 and 9 concerning Japan’s Red Purge and China’s Suppression of counterrevolutionaries.

Masuda Hajimu (family name Masuda) 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.

“What was the Cold War? Masuda Hajimu argues that it was more than an international confrontation between West and East blocs. It was also a social mechanism of purity and ordering at home, in the chaotic post-WWII world.”

Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (Harvard University Press, 2015); “The Social Experience of War and Occupation” in Laura Hein ed., The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol. III (forthcoming); “Toward a Community of Dissent: A Critical Analysis on the Politics of Asian Community,” Korea Journal (forthcoming) and more.

Masuda Hajimu talked about the political climate surrounding the Cold War […], and argued that the Cold War transformed from an emergent global war to social warfare and ultimately a citizens’ war.

In Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World, new this month, Masuda Hajimu reveals social and political forces normally seen as products of the Cold War actually to have been instrumental in fostering the conditions from which the conflict sprung. Below, he examines how the dynamics he identifies as having contributed to the pervasive global logic of the Cold War can be seen anew in our own time, when the “War on Terror” becomes ever more entrenched as the rubric with which we explain the world.

What I question in my recent book is actually an assumption that these two seemingly opposing opinions share and that goes unquestioned by them: that is, that the essence of the Cold War was the US-USSR confrontation.