Jessamyn R. Abel

Jessamyn R. Abel

Associate Professor of Asian Studies
201C Old Botany
Jessica Abel


BA, Princeton University, 1992
MIA, Columbia University, 1997
PhD, Columbia University, 2004


I am a historian of modern Japan with interests in cultural history, technology, infrastructure, sports, and international relations. My first book, The International Minimum: Creativity and Contradiction in Japan’s Global Engagement, 1933-1964, examines the transwar development of Japanese internationalism. My second book, Dream Super-Express: A Cultural History of the World’s First Bullet Train, views the 1960s through the window of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, showing how infrastructure operates beyond its intended use as a means of transportation to perform cultural and sociological functions. Other publications include articles on technology and infrastructure, the Tokyo Olympics, cultural diplomacy, textbooks, and the history of whaling in the 19th and 20th centuries. My current research is on grassroots promotion of democracy in Japan under American occupation.