Department of History

Theodore F. Cook

Office:   Atrium 229
Phone:   (973) 720-2243
Office Hours:   TR 9:30-10:30, 2:00-3:30;W 1-2, 4-5; By Appointment

Department: History
Position: Professor, Direct of Asian Studies
Area Specialization: Japanese History

Theodore F. Cook is Asian Studies Program Director. He earned his PhD in Japanese History from Princeton University. He has been a Secretary of the Navy Fellow and Visiting Professor of Strategy and Policy at the US Naval War College, Visiting Professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy, where he was a Fulbright Senior Fellow, and Visiting Scholar at Japan's National Museum of History and the International Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto. He was a recipient of a Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship among other awards. He studies the comparative history of war, specializing in Japanese military institutions and the social & cultural transformation of Japan. He is co-author of Japan at War: An Oral History, a NY Times Book of the Year, and has published widely on Japanese war experience and memory in English and Japanese.


PhD, Japanese History--Princeton University, 1987

MA, Far Eastern History--University of London, 1970

BA, History--Trinity college, 1969

Selected Publications

Japan at War. An Oral History. New York: The New Press, 1992. With Haruko Taya Cook. Selected a New York Times Notable Book of 1992; Military Book Club Main Selection. Paperback, 1993. Australian edition: Melbourne: HarperCollins, 1995. Editions in French, German, and Chinese. 2nd edition forthcoming Spring 2008.

Making ‘Soldiers’: The Army and the Japanese Man in Meiji Society and State,” in Barbara Molony and Kathleen Uno, eds., Gendering Modern Japanese History. Cambridge, Mass. & London: Harvard University Press, 2005, 259-294.

"Japanese Facing the End," in the V.J. Day Anniversary Issue of Everyone's War: Journal of the Second World War Experience Center, Leeds, England. Vol. 12 (Autumn/Winter 2005), 35-41.

“A lost war in living memory: Japan’s Second World War," With Haruko Taya Cook. European Review. Vol.11, No. 4 (October 2003), 573-593.

"The China War: A Bibliographic Exploration of the Japan-China Conflict, 1931-1945," Web Publication at Harvard University: Joint Study of the Sino-Japanese War 1931-1945. See project web page: (

“The Mongols in the Making of Japan’s National Identity: Invasion from Across the Sea and the Legend of the Kamikaze." Proceedings of The Chinggis Khan Symposium in Memory of Gombojab Hangin, Mongol-American Cultural Association and the International Mongol Studies Association Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: 2001. 45-76.

"The Chinese Discovery of the New World. 15th Century," in Robert Cowley, ed., What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2001. pp. 85-104.

"Tokyo, December 8, 1941," in Robert Cowley, ed., No End Save Victory. Perspectives on World War II. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2001. pages 131-143.

"The Japanese Perspective," in Paul Addison and Jeremy A. Crang, eds., The Burning Blue: A New History of the Battle of Britain. London: Pimlico.2000. pages 108-120.

"Our Midway Disaster," in Robert Cowley, ed., What If? The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1999. pages 311-339.

Meiji shin kokka to heishi. Sekai butai no tanjô.” (The New Meiji State and Soldiers. Japan’s Debut on the World Stage), in Satô Hideo and Yamamoto Taketoshi, eds., Nihon no kin-gendaishi to rekishi kyôiku (Modern and Contemporary Japanese History and History Education) Tokyo: Tsukiji Shokan. 1996, pages 44-56.

Heishi to kokka, heishi to shakai: Obei sekai e Nihon no Sannyû,” (Soldiers and the State, Soldiers and Society: Japan Joins the Western World) in Junji Banno, ed., Nihon Kin-Gendaishi (A History of Modern and Contemporary Japan), Vol. 2: Shihonshugi to "Jiyûshugi" (Capitalism and “Liberalism”). Tokyo: Iwanami Shôten, 1993. pages 257-298.

“Mongol Invasion. The Birth of Japan’s Kamikaze Legend. Were the ‘Sacred Shores’ of Japan Spared from the Wrath of Kublai Khan by the “Divine Wind”? for MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Winter 1999 (Vol. 11, No. 2), 8-19.

Entries on Yamamoto Isoroku, Yamagata Aritomo, Yamashita Tomoyuki, Terauchi Masaki, Tôjô Hideki, Nagumo Chûichi, and Kamikaze Special Attack Force in Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker, eds., The Readers’ Guide to Military History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.)

“Cataclysm and Career Rebirth: The Imperial Military Elite,” in David W. Plath, ed., Work and Lifecourse in Japan. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983. pp. 135-152.

“The Japanese Reserve Experience: From ‘Nation-in-Reserve’ to ‘Base-Line Defense,’” in L. Zurcher and G. Harries-Jenkins, eds., Supplementary Military Forces: Reserves, Militias, and Auxiliaries, Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1978. pp. 259-273.

Major Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

2010 Visiting Foreign Research Scholar, National Museum of Japanese History (Kokuritsu Rekishi Minzoku Hakubutsukan), Sakura City, Chiba, Japan June-October 2010

2009 Visiting Research Scholar, International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Kokusai Nihon Bunka Kenkyu Sentaa), Kyoto, Japan , May-August 2009

2006 Fulbright Senior Research Award to the Australian Defence Force Academy and the University of New South Wales, Canberra, ACT, Australia

2006 Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 6 months as Research Scholar

1998-2000 Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Research Grant for Research in Violence, Aggression, and Dominance

1999 Mellon Foreign Area Fellowship at the Library of Congress

1996 Northeast Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies, Research Travel Grant for Japan

1994-1995 National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, NEH College Division

1994 Nobel Research Fellow, Norwegian Nobel Institute, Oslo, Norway

1994-1995 Secretary of the Navy Research Fellow, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

1994-1995 New Jersey Faculty Fellow, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Rutgers University in Project on War, Peace, and Society in Historical Perspective

1993 National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, NEH Small College Division

1991 Japan Foundation, International Conference Award for “The Pacific War and Modern Memory: War Culture and Society” at William Paterson College, December 5-8, 1991

1991 Northeast Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies, Research Travel Grant for Japan

1990 National Endowment for the Humanities, NEH Travel to Collections Grant for Japan

1988-1989 Japan Foundation, Professional Fellowship for Research in Japan

1987 Fellow, Summer Teaching Seminar on Global Security and Arms Control, UC San Diego

1977-1978 Japan Foundation, Dissertation Research Fellowship for Research in Japan

1975-1976 Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship