Japan in the 20th century
Office: Harris Hall #325
Laura E. Hein (PhD Wisconsin, 1986) specializes in the history of Japan in the 20th century, its international relations, and the effects of WWII and the Cold War.
Much of Laura Hein's work focuses on debates over economic policy and the implications of various economic theories. Reasonable Men, Powerful Words: Political Culture and Expertise in Twentieth Century Japan (University of California, Fall 2004) explores various ways in which economic expertise intersected with politics through a study of the lives of a tight-knit group of Japanese intellectuals. It was published in Japanese as 理性ある人びと 力ある言葉 ―― 大内兵衛グループの思想と行動 ――. She also publishes on economic policy and the ideology of economic growth in postwar Japan, particularly Fueling Growth: The Energy Revolution and Economic Policy in Postwar Japan. (1990) which began life as a dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She also has a strong interest in problems of remembrance and public memory, resulting in three co-edited books with Mark Selden: Living with the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age (1997), Censoring History: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States (2000, with Korean and Chinese editions), and Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to American and Japanese Power (2003). The University of Michigan released another volume in 2010, Imagination Without Borders: Feminist Artist Tomiyama Taeko and Social Responsibility, which is accompanied by a website created by the Northwestern University Library.
She regularly offers a graduate seminar on Commemoration as a Historical Problem.
History of Japanese Economic Thought and Policy
For more on Reasonable Men, Powerful Words, see
For an on-line review of this book:
The History of Occupied Japan
日本占領を再考する is the Japanese-language version of a recent essay. The English version, "Revisiting America's Occupation of Japan," is available from a Taylor & Francis journal, Cold War History, 11.4 (November 2011): 579-599.
For more information on Living with the Bomb, see
For more information on Censoring History, see
see electronic reviews of this book at
Also Richard Rothstein's NYT review posted at
For a nice K-12 curriculum featuring this book, see
Other Professional Activities
Laura Hein is a coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, a peer-reviewed, open-source, electronic journal and archive on Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, which includes over 2000 essays. She edits a series of free course readers created from the journal and available at its website. Particular strengths include essays on the politics, economics, society, and culture of contemporary Japan, including the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011 and the history of Japan's international relations and war remembrance in Asia. The site also includes substantial coverage of Korea, China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific region, and the international impact of the United States. In addition to articles prepared for the journal, it offers translations from Japanese, Chinese, Korean and other languages. The journal is fully indexed by author, title and key word and includes many visual images. Readers located in over 180 countries access the site more than 100,000 times each month.
Seven of her own essays and editor's introductions appear there:
- Laura Hein, Remembrance of World War II and the Postwar in the United States and Japan
- Laura Hein, Citizens, Foreigners, and the State in the United States and Japan since 9/11
- Laura Hein and Akiko Takenaka, Exhibiting World War II in Japan and the United States
- Laura Hein, The Cultural Career of the Japanese Economy: Developmental and Cultural Nationalisms in Historical Perspective
- Rebecca Jennison and Laura Hein, Against Forgetting: Three Generations of Artists in Japan in Dialogue about the Legacies of World War II
- John W. Dower with an introduction by Laura Hein, The Failure of Imagination: From Pearl Harbor to 9-11, Afghanistan and Iraq
- Nobuko Tanaka with an introduction by Laura Hein, Brushing With Authority: The Life and Art of Tomiyama Taeko
She also serves on the editorial board of Critical Asian Studies, an inter-area, interdisciplinary journal, and was its Northeast Asia editor for a decade.