Hiromu Nagahara

Associate Professor of History

Hiromu Nagahara is a historian of modern Japan, with a focus on the politics of art and culture since the nineteenth century. He is the author of Tokyo Boogie-Woogie: Japan’s Pop Era and Its Discontents (Harvard University Press, 2017), which highlights the public controversies that engulfed the popular songs that were produced by Japan’s music industry since the late 1920s and their connections to Japan’s emergence as a mass-consumer, middle-class society.

His next book project, An Empire of Anglophones: English in the Making of Imperial Japan’s Elites, explores the cultural history of modern Japanese diplomacy. In particular, it highlights how familiarity with the English language, and Anglophone culture more generally, both enabled and complicated the efforts by Japan’s ruling elites to build an empire of their own in a world that was already dominated by European and American imperial powers.

Nagahara’s teaching interests include surveys of Japanese history from the earliest centuries (21H.154 “Inventing the Samurai”) through the modern era (21H.155 “Modern Japan: 1600 to Presents”), as well as a seminar on World War II in Asia. He also co-teaches a global history course, ” World History and Its Fault Lines Since 1800.” 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 one of the largest collections of Japanese art outside of Japan.

Subjects Offered

Offered Fall 2024

Catalog Subject Faculty Level HASS Category

World History and Its Fault Lines Since 1800

TR 9:30-11, 56-180
Sana Aiyar
Hiromu Nagahara
Introductory HASS-H CI-H

Not Offered This Term

Catalog Subject Faculty Level HASS Category

Inventing the Samurai

Hiromu Nagahara Introductory HASS-H

Modern Japan: 1600 to Present

Hiromu Nagahara Introductory HASS-H

Looking East/Looking West

Catherine Clark
Hiromu Nagahara
Intermediate HASS-H

World War II in Asia

Hiromu Nagahara Seminar HASS-H