Chalmers Johnson

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Ma href="">Chalmers Johnson is President of the Japan Policy Research Institute and professor emeritus of the University of California in San Diego.

He was born in 1931 in Phoenix and raised in Buckeye, Arizona. After World War II, in which his father served in the Navy in the Pacific, his family moved to Alameda, California, where he finished high school and earned a B.A. in economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He first saw Japan and Korea in 1953, when he served in the Navy during the Korean War.

Returning to Berkeley, he switched fields and earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science. In 1962, he began teaching political science at Berkeley, and did so until 1988, when he moved to the San Diego campus of the University of California. He retired in 1992. At Berkeley he served as chairman of the Center for Chinese Studies from 1967 until 1972. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1976.

Johnson has written numerous articles and reviews and some twelve books on Asian subjects, including Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power on the Chinese revolution, An Instance of Treason on Japan's most famous spy, Revolutionary Change on the theory of violent protest movements, and MITI and the Japanese Miracle on Japanese economic development. This last-named book laid the foundation for the "revisionist" school of writers on Japan, and because of it the Japanese press dubbed him the "Godfather of revisionism."

He was chairman of the academic advisory committee for the PBS television series "The Pacific Century," and he played a prominent role in the PBS "Frontline" documentary "Losing the War with Japan." Both won Emmy awards. His latest books are Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Holt Metropolitan Books, 2000) and, as editor and contributor, Okinawa: Cold War Island (Cardiff, Calif.: Japan Policy Research Institute, 1999) and "Dysfunctional Japan: At Home and In the World," special issue of ASIAN PERSPECTIVE, vol. 24, no. 4 (2000), 334 pp..

In 1994, together with Steven Clemons, Johnson founded the Japan Policy Research Institute to promote greater public awareness and understanding of Japan's role in world affairs, and of Asian area studies.

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Sheila K. Johnson   • Steven Clemons

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