Hiromu Nagahara studies the history of modern Japan. He received his PhD (2011) in History from Harvard University. His research interests include the history of media and popular culture in the twentieth century. His current research explores how new forms of mass media and pop culture interacted with existing social and cultural hierarchies within Japanese society in ways that transformed both the new and the old. His forthcoming book, Japan's Pop Era: Pop Music in the Making of Middle-Class Society (Harvard University Press), sheds light on the ongoing public controversies surrounding the popular songs that were produced by Japan's music industry since the late 1920s. These debates, stretching from the late 1920s through the 1960s, coincided with the emergence of a mass-consumer, middle-class society. Within this context, popular song critique constituted an attempt to shape the very nature of the newly emerging social and cultural order.
At MIT, Professor Nagahara teaches surveys on culture, politics, and society in both premodern and modern Japan. He also teaches a seminar on World War II in Asia and co-teaches a global history course, "The World, 1400-Present." During January IAP and other occasions, he also enjoys taking students and other members of the MIT community on a tour of the Japanese collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, which houses the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan.