Universiteit Leiden

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Ethan Mark

Senior University Lecturer Modern Japanese History

Dr. E. Mark
+31 71 527 2310

I specialize in modern Japanese history, with particular expertise in Japanse imperialism and the social and cultural history of the 1920s-1940s.

More information about Ethan Mark


I specialize in modern Japanese history, with particular expertise in Japanese imperialism and the social and cultural history of the 1920s-1940s.  My interests and thinking gravitate more towards cross-border questions and dynamics than to those contained within them.  I am also a scholar of modern Indonesia, and much of my research has revolved around Japan’s occupation of Indonesia in the Second World War as viewed and experienced by both Japanese and Indonesians, within a broader global context of interwar crisis.  This is the subject of my latest monograph, Japan’s Occupation of Java in the Second World War:  A Transnational History (London:  Bloomsbury, 2018).  In 2015 I also completed a major translation project of Professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki’s classic study Grassroots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People (New York, Columbia University Press), supplementing the original with substantial new annotation and an extensive translator’s introduction.  I am further interested in regional and global history (and the relationship between them) as well as broader questions and theories of nationalism and nation-building, fascism, Marxism and socialism, imperialism, colonialism and anti-colonialism, neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism, postcolonialism and postcolonial theory, race and race-thinking, history and memory, and historiography.  In collaboration with like-minded scholars around the globe from various regional specializations, my current project entitled Global Histories of WWII:  Imperial Crises and Contested Loyalties seeks to offer, in the form of an open-access publication and an associated website, a diverse assortment of fresh narratives and interpretations of the Second World War as a truly global (as opposed to Eurocentric) conflict.


I supervise research at all levels on topics related to modern Japanese history (1868-present), the interwar and Cold War periods in East and Southeast Asia, and the Asia-Pacific War in history, memory, and historiography.


I teach courses at all levels in the Bachelor’s programs in Japan Studies and International Studies, and in the MA programs in Asian Studies (of which I am also serving as Chair from 2017-2020).  Courses taught regularly include Introduction to Modern Japanese History, Japan’s Asian Empire, World War Two in Asia, and, together with my colleague Nira Wickramasinghe, the Master’s level history theory and methods course Democratizing Histories:  Asia and the World

Curriculum vitae


  • PhD with Distinction, Modern Japanese History, Columbia University, 2003
  • MA/MPhil, Modern Japanese History, Columbia University, 1991, 1993
  • BA with Distinction, East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1987

Fellowships and Awards

  • Leiden University Teacher’s Academy Fellow, 2014-2019
  • Leiden Asia Centre Fellow, 2014-15
  • NIOD/Ailion Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Lecturer, Leiden University, 2003-2006
  • NIOD Research Fellow, 1998-99
  • Whiting Fellow, 1997-98
  • Fulbright/Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow (Indonesia; Netherlands), 1996
  • Fulbright/IIE Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow (Japan), 1994-95, 1997
  • Pacific Basin Fellow, East Asian Inst., Columbia U., 1994 (Cornell; Indonesia)
  • FLAS Fellow, Columbia University, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93

Senior University Lecturer Modern Japanese History

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS Japan

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 2.04b


No relevant ancillary activities

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