Dr. Samuel Yamashita

Dr. Samuel Yamashita

Contact: Dr. Stella Xu, sxu@roanoke.edu

Did the War With Japan Have to End As It Did?

Samuel Yamashita is the Henry E. Sheffield Professor of History at Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he has taught since 1983. A well-established scholar, Yamashita first worked on Confucian philosophers in early modern East Asia, co-translating The Four-seven Debate: An Annotated Translation of the Most Famous Controversy in Neo-Confucian Thought (1993) and publishing Master Sorai’s Responsals: An Annotated Translation of Sorai sensei tōmonsho (1995). He then turned to World War II Japan and reconstructed home front life during the war using two hundred and fifty diaries and memoirs he collected over the course of nearly thirty years. He translated and published eight of these diaries in Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary Japanese (2005) and used his cache of diaries to write Daily Life in Wartime Japan, 1940-1945, which appeared in the University of Kansas Press’s Modern War Series in 2015. Drawing on his collection of diaries and memoirs, he is currently analyzing the responses of Japanese civilians and servicemen to their country’s defeat as a way of gauging their feelings about the war and their responsibility for what happened during the war. In 2009, an invitation to write a history of Japanese food led to a turn to food studies, and thus far he has delivered public lectures on the origins of Japanese foodways and the many cuisines of early modern Japan and published scholarly articles on food in wartime Japan and on Japanese culinary influence on contemporary fine dining in the United States. He expects to complete this project in 2025.

Yamashita is also a seasoned lecturer who has delivered keynote addresses and named lectures to general audiences throughout the country. Well known for his appearances in Greatest Events of World War II in Colour (Netflix, 2019), he recently completed interviews for Inside Japan’s War and Road to Victory in Colour, forthcoming documentaries on World War II.

This free public webinar is sponsored by the Center for Studying the Structures of Race and the Northeast Asia Council Distinguished Speakers Bureau.

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