Dr Barak Kushner, Reader in Japanese History, has been selected as the winner of the 2016 John K. Fairbank Prize for his book Men to Devils, Devils to Men: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice (Harvard Univ. Press, 2015). The Fairbank Prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) to honour the best book in East Asian history since 1800. The prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the Association’s 131st Annual Meeting in Denver, CO, January 5-8, 2017.
The book was selected by a prize review committee of AHA members including Marcia Yonemoto, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder (chair); Alexis Dudden, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs; Charles P. Keith, Michigan State Univ.; and Kristin Stapleton, SUNY Buffalo.
“In Men to Devils, Devils to Men Barak Kushner analyzes the dismantling of Japan’s Asian empire and the prosecution of its agents left behind in lost territories at war’s end,” commented the Fairbank committee. “The book breaks new ground in examining the history of Chinese trials of Japanese war criminals, revealing how such trials were used by both the Nationalists and Communists to claim postwar legitimacy and criticize U.S. attempts to dominate the postwar political settlement. Kushner shows how internal political conflict shaped each country’s strategies concerning justice in the international arena. The book thus re-historicizes the memory of the Sino-Japanese War in the context of postwar Asia.”
The Fairbank Prize honours the late John K. Fairbank, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and director of the East Asian Research Center at Harvard University, and president of the Association in 1968.