Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home Directory Jessamyn Abel

Jessamyn Abel

Jessamyn  Abel

Assistant Professor in Asian Studies and History

201C Old Botany Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 865-3931

Curriculum Vitae

Download CV


  1. PhD, Columbia University, 2004
  2. MIA, Columbia University, 1997
  3. BA, Princeton University, 1992


I am a historian of modern Japan.  My research has focused on Japan’s foreign relations, and I enjoy bringing a globally contextualized view of Japan into the classroom.  My first book, entitled Internationalism in Japan at War and Peace, is forthcoming from University of Hawai’i Press.  My new research is on the cultural history of the first bullet train in Japan in the context of the international race toward high-speed rail in the twentieth century. My publications include articles on the Tokyo Olympics, cultural diplomacy during World War II, and the history of whaling in the 19th and 20th centuries. Before coming to Penn State, I was Assistant Professor at Bowling Green State University and held research fellowships at Harvard University’s Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and Columbia’s Expanding East Asian Studies Program.

Recent Publications:

“Japan’s Sporting Diplomacy: The 1964 Tokyo Olympiad.” The International History Review (June 2012), 1-18.

“Cultural Internationalism and Japan’s Wartime Empire.” Tumultuous Decade: Japan’s Challenge to the International System, 1931-41. Eds. Tosh Minohara and Masato Kimura. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (forthcoming, 2013).

“When Athletes Are Diplomats: Competing for World Opinion at the Tokyo Olympiads.”  The East Asian Olympiads 1934-2008: Building Bodies and Nations in Japan, Korea, and China.  Eds. William M. Tsutsui and Michael Baskett.  Folkestone, UK: Global Oriental, 2011.

“The Ambivalence of Whaling: Conflicting Cultures in Identity-Formation.” JAPANimals: History and Culture in Japan's Animal Life. Eds. Gregory M. Pflugfelder and Brett L. Walker. Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies 52. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2005.

Awards and Service:

Japan Foundation Short-Term Research Fellowship (Summer 2013).
Twentieth Century Japan Research Award, Miller Center for Historical Studies, Univ. of Maryland (Spring 2013)
Harvard-Yenching Travel Grant, Harvard University (2012)
Kent Forster Memorial Fund Award, Pennsylvania State University (2011)
Advanced Research Fellow, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Harvard University (2008-2009)

Japan Foundation Short-Term Research Fellowship (2008)

Recent Courses:

ASIA100 - What is Asia?
HIST172 - Survey of Japanese Civilization
HIST302W - Undergraduate Seminar
HIST481 - Modern Japan Since 1800

Research Interests:

History of technology, transportation and travel, international relations, imperialism, and sports

Research Interests:

East Asia:
Personal tools
Log in