Chalmers Johnson, influential scholar of East Asia, dies at 79

Published on Los Angeles Times, by Dennis McLellan, November 24, 2010.

… A prolific writer, Johnson made his initial impact with the 1962 publication of his dissertation, “Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power,” which offered a revisionist view of the emergence of revolutionary China between 1937 and 1945.

“He argued that famine more than personalities drove the Chinese political settlement,” Hatcher said.

Subsequent to that, Johnson wrote an even more influential book about Japan: “MITI and the Japanese Miracle” (1982), which argued that the government was the major player in the Japanese economy rather than the private sector. (MITI was the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.)

“With this book, Johnson became [known as] ‘the godfather’ of the revisionist school of Japanese political economy,” Hatcher said.

Ken Kopp, associate director of the Center for the Pacific Rim, said that as a writer, a scholar and a teacher, Johnson “not only had an impact in the academic world, but he went on to have a considerable impact in the public sphere.”

He did that, Kopp said, “through his most recent works, which were a so-called empire trilogy on what he saw as the pathologies of America’s current role in the world.”

The three books are “Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire” (2000), “The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic” (2004) and “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic” (2006). (full text).


Empire v. Democracy: Why Nemesis Is at Our Door, published on, by Chalmers Johnson and Tom Engelhardt, February 1, 2007;

Calmers Johnson on wikipedia.

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