Monday, October 27, 2014

Marginalia: A Bibliography (with Links) of English Materials Concerning E. H. Norman

E.H. Norman                                     John W. Dower

I just finished reading John W. Dower’s influential essay E. H. Norman, Japan and the Uses of History. Prof. Dower is an impressive scholar and nothing I can say here would encompass the range and impact of his scholarship, his stature among Japanese Studies academics, particularly in the field of postwar history and his distinguishing humanistic impulses that percolate inside the meticulously and impressively-researched books (which brought their author several achievements and rightfully merited awards). Among his numerous inspiring accomplishments, this one is probably the most exemplary: he has established a new standard of scrutiny for all historians of Japanese history under American Occupation. And to finally bring my pean to an end, I have to say that Prof. Dower’s scope has always been sweeping, controversial and decisive. I intend to review most of his books for this blog because I think that he’s one of the most significant historians in his field. My passion for Japanese history was kindled during my university years when I stumbled upon his magnum opus Embracing Defeat. I’ve also had the fortune to take his online course Visualizing Japan which he conducted in the company of the only man whom I consider his equal (a personal estimation): Prof. Andrew Gordon. I finished reading his collection of essays Japan in War & Peace last week so a review is bound to appear soon.

The positive evaluation from above applies to E. H. Norman as well. My estimation of Norman skyrocketed once I plunged into Origins of the Modern Japanese State - Selected Writings of E. H. Norman. This can be credited to the inspiring input from Prof. Dower’s famous (or infamous, depending on where you position yourself in the “modernization theory” debate) introduction. I will not dwell here on the contents of this fundamental essay; I’ll do so at a more appropriate time, after I’ve done more research. Henceforth, this entry concerns Prof. Dower and Norman only marginally. I merely wanted to share here a collection of articles which expand on the background and contents of Prof. Dower’s essay. I wanted to include bibliographical posts on various themes ever since I started this blog but I could never find the right moment or the right state of mind. The immeasurable excitement I felt after reading the introduction to Origins of the Modern Japanese State gave me the appropriate incentive. 

To make the post more inaugural I decided to add downloading links for the articles contained below. Although it’s not going to happen all the time, I’m planning to make this an occasional recurring practice in the interests of extending access to topics and evaluations that are worthy of a larger academic (or even leisure-practicing) audience. Before you go on however, you should mind the following observations:

Note 1: This entry is part of the bibliography which appears at the end of the book, in the subchapters entitled “Editorials, Reviews and Reports” and “English Materials Concerning E. H. Norman.” Unfortunately, due to inaccessibility some titles from the original couldn’t be included.

Note 2: The following titles all contain a positive evaluation of Norman’s scholarship. Some readers may see this as hagiography. I have no problems with this estimation. In a future post I’m planning to discuss a negative appraisal written by Prof. George Akita and a counter-response to this appraisal by Prof. Herbert P. Bix (who is esteemed in his own right). Prof. Dower already offers a balanced consideration by writing about the shortcomings of Norman’s work. These faults are pardonable and, on top of that, they are demonstrably overshadowed by Norman’s strengths as a pioneer in the field of Japanese Studies. It goes without saying that I support Prof. Dower’s position.  


Abosch, David. “Political Consciousness in Japan: A Retrospect on EH Norman.” Pacific Affairs 42.1 (1969): 25-31. (Download)

Harootunian, Harry D. “EH Norman and the Task for Japanese History.” Pacific Affairs 41.4 (1968): 545-552. (Download)

Maruyama, Masao. “An Affection for the Lesser Names: An Appreciation of E. Herbert Norman.” Pacific Affairs 30.3 (1957): 249-253. (Download)

Norman, E. Herbert. Japan's Emergence as a Modern State: Political and Economic Problems of the Meiji Period. New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1940. (Public Domain Link)

Norman, E. Herbert. “Mass Hysteria in Japan.” Far Eastern Survey 14.6 (1945): 65-70. (Download)

Norman, E. Herbert. “Militarists in the Japanese State.” Pacific Affairs 16.4 (1943): 475-481. (Download)

Norman, E. Herbert. Soldier and Peasant in Japan: The Origins of Conscription.” Pacific Affairs 16.1 (1943): 47-64. (Download)

Norman, E. Herbert. “Soldier and Peasant in Japan: The Origins of Conscription (Part II).” Pacific Affairs 16.2 (1943): 149-165. (Download)

Norman, E. Herbert. “The Genyosha: A Study in the Origins of Japanese Imperialism.” 17.3 (1944): 261-284. (Download)

Silberman, Bernard S. “EH Norman: Structure and Function in the Meiji State, A Reappraisal.” Pacific Affairs 41.4 (1968): 553-559. (Download)

Powles, Cyril. “EH Norman as Historian: A Canadian Perspective.” Pacific Affairs 50.4 (1977): 660-667. (Download)

Price, John. “EH Norman, Canada and Japan’s Postwar Constitution.” Pacific Affairs 74.3 (2001): 383-405. (Download)

Yamamura, Kozo. “EH Norman as an Economic Historian.” Pacific Affairs 42.1 (1969): 17-24. (Download)

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