Dr. E. (Ethan) Mark

  • Lecturer
  • History of modern Japan

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2310
E-Mail: e.mark@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SAS Japan
Office Address: Arsenaal
Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
Room number 1.06


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

The story of social engagement in and mobilization for empire-building, nation-building, and war is in many ways the story of the social and cultural making of the modern world. While conventional narratives conceptualize such processes in binary frameworks such as those of nation versus nation or state versus society, considerations of these processes in terms of interactions between states and societies, of multiple and competing interests and loyalties within societies, and of ways in which these loyalties and interests can defy the boundaries of nation and other conventional categorizations of politics and identity, belie and challenge such simple understandings.

My work as a historian has long been concerned with these sorts of problematizations, with a particular focus on the war and crisis years in Japan and Asia in the 1930s and 40s and their postwar legacies. My dissertation, Appealing to Asia: Nation, Culture, and the Problem of Imperial Modernity in Japanese-occupied Java (Columbia, 2003), sought to explore the wartime Japanese occupation of Indonesia within this sort of interactive, transnational social and cultural framework. I am currently finishing extensive revision of this manuscript for publication by a major academic press as The Limits of Liberation: The Japanese-Indonesian Encounter in Occupied Java, 1942-1945. This project as well as the major translation project of Yoshimi Yoshiaki's Grass-Roots Fascism discussed below have been conducted with generous support from the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation and the Isaac Alfred Ailion Foundation.

The Limits of Liberation reveals the Japanese occupation of Java to challenge conventional scholarly and popular paradigms not only of Japanese imperialism, but of modern “colonial occupation” itself. It is shown to represent a pioneering variant of a new type of military colonization and social mobilization that has continued to reappear in various guises up to the present day.

I recently completed the translation portion of a second major project, an English-language edition of Japanese historian Yoshimi Yoshiaki’s classic study Kusa no ne no fashizumu: Nihon minshû no sensô taiken (Grass-Roots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People), a revolutionary account of the war experience of ordinary Japanese from the “ground-up.” In consultation with Professor Yoshimi, I am currently completing an analytical translator’s introduction and accompanying annotation.

My article “Asia’s Transwar Lineage: Nationalism, Marxism, and Greater Asia,” which appears in the August 2006 edition of the Journal of Asia Studies, represents a part of my forthcoming major scholarly project, a history of evolving notions of national identity, “Asia” and “Asianness” within and across borders in modern Japan, East-, Southeast-, and South Asia, within a regional and global context of dramatic social change, struggle, and crisis in the years 1900-1950.

Curriculum vitae

Graduate Education
Columbia University, New York, Fall 1990-May 2003
Degrees Received: Ph.D. (with Distinction), May 2003; M.Phil., February 1994; M.A., October 1991
Specialization: Ph.D. program, Modern Japanese History; Minor specialization: Modern Indonesian History
Languages studied: Japanese (3 yrs. incl. 1 yr. each of classical, kanbun), Indonesian (3 yrs. incl. 1 yr. tutorials) COTI Advanced Indonesian Language Program Fellow, Ujung Pandang, Sulawesi, Indonesia June-Aug. 1993 M.Phil. Examination Fields: Modern Japan, 1868-Present; Japan in Asia, 1868-1945; Cultural Interpretations of Nationalism and Imperialism; Modern Indonesia, 1900-1965

Undergraduate Education
University of California, Berkeley, Sept. 1982-June 1986
(Including one year of semi-intensive Japanese language and other Japan-related study at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan, July 1984-June 1985) Major: East Asian Studies, with specializations in Japanese language and history
Languages Studied: Japanese (3 yrs. incl. at I.C.U. above), Chinese (1 yr.), French (Advanced-level, 1 semester), Dutch (Intermediate-level course, New York University)

Degree Received: A.B. (with Distinction), August, 1987

Fellowships and Awards
NIOD/Ailion Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Lecturer, Leiden University, 2003-2006
NIOD (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation) Research Fellow, 1998-99
Whiting Fellow, 1997-98
Fulbright/IIE Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow (Japan), 1994-95, 1997
Fulbright/Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow (Indonesia; Netherlands), 1996
Japan Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 1994-95 (declined)
Pacific Basin Fellow, East Asian Inst., Columbia U., 1994 (Cornell; Indonesia)
FLAS Fellow, Columbia University, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93

Aug. 1988-May 1990 Staff Writer (Japanese Language), New York Yomiuri Newspaper, New York

Teaching activities

Courses offered past and present:

Introduction to Modern Japanese History  (BA1)

Focus:  Japan's Modern Empire (BA2)

Japan and the World:  An Introduction to Japanese Foreign Relations (BA2)

Focus:  Japanese Fascism Part One: Exploring Society, Politics and Culture in Wartime Japan (BA3)

Focus:  Japanese Fascism Part Two:  Working with Japanese Texts (BA3)

State of the Field Master's Seminar:   Issues in the History and Historiography of Modern Japan (MA/MPhil)


The Limits of Liberation: Negotiating a New Asian Order in Occupied Java, 1942-1945, forthcoming
“‘Asia’’s Trans-War Lineage: Nationalism, Marxism, and ‘Greater Asia’ in an Indonesian Inflection,” Journal of Asian Studies 65:3 (August 2006)

“Introduction: Nations in the Looking Glass: The War in Changing Retrospect, 1945-2005,” pp. 1,4,5 and “Connecting the Experiences of the Sino-Japanese and Asia-Pacific Wars,” p. 21, in IIAS Newsletter Special Issue: The Asia-Pacific War 60 Years On, 38 (Autumn 2005) (Guest Editor)

Appealing to Asia: Nation, Culture, and the Problem of Imperial Modernity in Japanese-occupied Java, Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University, New York, May 2003

“Suharto’s New Order Remembers Japan’s New Order” and “Greater East Asia Revisited” in Remco Raben, Editor, Representing the Japanese Occupation of Indonesia, Waanders Publishers, Zwolle (Netherlands), 1999, pp. 72-84, 141-42 (Review: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 33:3 {October 2002}, pp. 576-577)

“Conflicts of Interest: Sukarno's Guided Economy, 1957-65,” Journal of Southeast Asia Business, Vol. 8 No. 1 (Winter 1992), pp. 59-72.

“The Correcting Elite: Journalists and Their Ethos in Modern Japan,” M.A. Thesis, Columbia University, 1991


Yoshimi Yoshiaki, Grass-Roots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People, forthcoming, including translator’s introduction (English translation of Yoshimi Yoshiaki, Kusa no ne no fashizumu: Nihon minshû no sensô taiken, Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1987) Gotô Ken’ichi, Returning to Asia: Japan-Indonesia Relations, 1930-1942, Tokyo: Ryukei Shosha, 1997, (English translation of Gotô Ken’ichi, Shôwa-ki Nihon to Indoneshia: 1930 nendai ‘nanshin’ no ronri/‘Nihonkan’ no keifu, Tokyo: Keisô shobô, 1986), Chapters 8-11 (pp. 300-360).

Last Modified: 11-12-2015