Lori Watt

​Associate Professor of History and of Global Studies
PhD, Columbia University
MA, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo
BA, Reed College
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    • Tuesdays
    • 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM in person
    • and by appointment
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    • MSC 1062-107-114
    • Washington University
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    ​Professor Watt specializes in Japanese history. In a current book project, she seeks to gain a better understanding of the Allied-managed population transfers throughout East Asia at the end of the World War II.


    When Empire Comes Home:  Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Asia Center, 2009


    "Embracing Defeat, Eliding Empire in Post-colonial Seoul, Autumn 1945." Journal of Asian Studies February 2015

    "A 'Great East Asian Meal' in Post-colonial Seoul, Autumn 1945." In Food and War in Mid-Twentieth-Century East Asia, ed. Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, 149-164.  Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013

    "Imperial Remnants:  the Repatriates in Postwar Japan," in Caroline Elkins and Susan Pedersen, eds., Settler Colonialism in the Twentieth Century:  Projects, Practices, Legacies.  New York:  Taylor and Francis, 2005, 243-255

    "Tôhoku Dôhô:  Haisengo Manshû ni okeru Nihonjin no sekai (The World of Japanese Refugees in Postwar Manchuria)."  Higashi Ajia Kindaishi March 2003, 87-97

    Book Projects

    The Allies and the Decolonization of the Japanese Empire seeks to gain a better understanding of the Allied-managed population transfers throughout East Asia at the end of the war, from the level of policy formulation in Washington to how displaced East Asians experienced the implementation of those policies on the ground.  

    The 'Ordinary Men' of Japan: the Takada 58th Infantry Regiment is a social history of a particular regiment of men, from their mobilization in Niigata in 1937 through the years of waging war in central China to defeat in Burma, and for survivors, across their postwar lives. This research seeks to understand how the men made sense of their histories as part of a larger effort in understanding the ramifications of Japan's war on China, 1937-1945

    When Empire Comes Home

    When Empire Comes Home

    Following the end of World War II in Asia, the Allied powers repatriated over six million Japanese nationals from colonies and battlefields throughout Asia and deported more than a million colonial subjects from Japan to their countries of origin. Lori Watt analyzes how the human remnants of empire, those who were moved and those who were left behind, served as sites of negotiation in the process of the jettisoning of the colonial project and in the creation of new national identities in Japan. Through an exploration of the creation and uses of the figure of the repatriate, in political, social, and cultural realms, this study addresses the question of what happens when empire comes home.