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My Japan Journey podcast - episode
Making Sense of Today Through History

Andrew Gordon

"Don't be afraid to embrace something that comes your way unexpectedly if it grabs your heart and mind"

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Dr. Andrew Gordon is currently the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History at Harvard University, however, his Japan journey stretches far beyond his academic prowess.  His research and teaching specialties are on the comparative history of labor and on the United States as a colonial power and nation builder.

He is published in several countries, including the United States, Japan, and France.  Gordon’s most recent publication is a book entitled Fabricating Consumers: The Sewing Machine in Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2011).  Gordon has held several academic Directorial/Leadership positions, including Chair of the Harvard History Department (2004-07), Director of the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies (1998-2004 and 2010-2011), and Acting Director of the Asia Center (2016-2017).  He has also been a member of several organizations including the Joint Committee on Japanese Studies of the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies (1994-1996).

He has lived for a total of 9 years in Japan.  He was a visiting scholar at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociale in Paris and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies before receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1981 in History and East Asian Languages, after completing a B.A. at Harvard in 1975.  He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.

Gordon has written several books in his academic career.  His first book was titled The Evolution of Labor Relations in Japan: Heavy Industry 1853-1955 (Harvard University Council on East Asian Studies Monographs, 1985).  This was published in Japanese with two additional chapters on the 1960s to the present day by Iwanami Shoten in 2012.  His second book was entitled Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan (University of California Press, 1991).  This publication won the John King Fairbank Prize in 1992 for the best book on modern East Asian history and was a finalist for the 1992 Arisawa Hiromi Prize for the best book on Japan.  

Other publications include The Wages of Affluence: Labor and Management in Postwar Japan (Harvard University Press, 1998), A Modern History of Japan (Oxford University Press, 2002) (which was published in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean), and The Unknown Story of Matsuzaka's Major League Revolution (Asahi Shinsho, 2007) (in Japanese only, though PDF is available in English online). Dr. Gordon is also the winner of the second NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies.

Selcted Works

Selected Works

"New and Enduring Dual Structures of Employment in Japan: The Rise of Non-Regular Labor, 1980s - 2010s" in Social Sciences Japan Journal 20, no. 1 (2017): 9-36.

Fabricating Consumers: The Sewing Machine in Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2011)

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2002) - 3rd edition published in 2013

The Wages of Affluence: Labor and management in Postwar Japan (Harvard University Press, 1998)

Postwar Japan as History (University of California Press, 1993)

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