Fellows & Grantees

Barak Kushner

Abe Fellowship 2007
Project Title
Cold War Propaganda in East Asia and Historical Memory
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award)
Lecturer in Modern Japanese History, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge


Barak Kushner is Reader in modern Japanese history in the Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (formerly the Faculty of Oriental Studies) at the University of Cambridge and has a PhD in History from Princeton University. He has written three books: Men to Devils, Devils to Men: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice (Harvard University Press, 2015); Slurp! A culinary and social history of ramen – Japan’s favorite noodle soup (Brill, 2012), awarded the 2013 Sophie Coe Prize for Food History, the longest-running and most generous prize for writing in food history in the English language; and The Thought War – Japanese Imperial Propaganda (Hawaii 2006). He recently finished running a large translation project, with 6 graduate students, of a book which examines the intersection of media, history and politics entitled Media, Propaganda and Politics in 20th-Century Japan. As a scholar he has written on wartime Japanese and Chinese propaganda, Japanese media, Sino-Japanese relations, humor, food history, BC class war crimes, and the Cold War. Currently, he is working on a monograph concerning postwar East Asian history, and a second volume about war crimes in East Asia, tentatively entitled The Construction of Justice in East Asia and the Search for Legitimacy. Barak also co-edited a volume about Japan’s lost decades with former Asahi Shimbun editor-in-chief, Funabashi Yoichi, entitled Examining Japan’s Lost Decades. He assisted in this several year-long project at the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation in Tokyo by managing the research group and editorial process, as well as helping to lead the international conference.    In March 2013 he launched a 5-year European Research Council funded project, “The Dissolution of the Japanese Empire and the Struggle for Legitimacy in Postwar East Asia, 1945–1965.” This 5-year grant will examine the impact of the fall of the Japanese empire in East Asia. The project manages several postdoctoral research associates and offered two full scholarships to PhD students in an effort to investigate this important historical moment. In the summer of 2008 he was a visiting scholar at Nanjing University (China) and during 2009 he was a visiting scholar at Waseda University (Japan). Previously, Kushner worked in the US Department of State as a political officer in East Asian affairs and taught Chinese and Japanese history at Davidson College in North Carolina, USA.