Hall Prize

John Whitney Hall Book Prize

The 30th annual John Whitney Hall Book Prize will be awarded at the AAS Annual Conference in 2024 for an outstanding English language book published on Japan during 2022.


The winner will receive a $1,000 prize.

Guidelines for Submission

  • Books nominated may address either contemporary or historical topics in any field of the humanities or the social sciences.
  • Translations from Japanese into English are eligible only if they include a substantial introduction, annotation, and critical apparatus.
  • Reference works, exhibition catalogs, multi-authored collections of essays, textbooks, original poetry or fiction, memoirs, or autobiographies are not eligible.
  • Authors need not be members of the AAS.
  • Publishers must complete the book nomination form. Each press may nominate a maximum of three books for the Hall Prize competition.
  • Only publishers may nominate books.
  • Upon receipt of a completed nomination form, publishers will be provided with addresses for prize committee members. A copy of each entry, clearly labeled “John Whitney Hall Prize,” must be sent to each member of the committee.

Books published by the Association for Asian Studies, Inc. are ineligible for consideration for prizes administered by the Association for Asian Studies. Employees of the Association are excluded from consideration for AAS book prizes, subventions, and grants. Publishers should check with authors to certify that they are not employed by the Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 


The nomination deadline has passed. Award recipients will be announced in early 2024.

Hall Prize Committee

Gabriele Koch (Chair)
University of Oslo

Charo D’Etcheverry
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Victor Seow
Harvard University

David Fedman
University of California, Irvine

2023 Awards

Winner and Citation

Cover image of Carbon Technocracy, by Victor Seow

Victor SeowCarbon Technocracy: Energy Regimes in Modern East Asia (University of Chicago Press) 

This boundary-breaking historical study pairs the emergence of a voracious appetite for coal with the rise of the modern state in Japan and China. By telling the story of the Fushun colliery in Northeast China under its control by first the imperial Japanese, then Chinese Nationalist, then Chinese Communist (until 1960) states, Seow uncovers a shared technocratic approach to energy extraction across very different political regimes. The result is a strikingly fresh perspective on how the Japanese empire functioned in Manchukuo that will generate new avenues of research on imperialism and its enduring legacies in Asia. Seow powerfully underscores the centrality of carbon to Japanese and Chinese political projects over time and highlights the significance of this history for understanding our ongoing dependence on fossil fuel in the present. With its impressive command of multilingual archival sources and an original reconceptualization of the structure and methods of Japanese imperial domination in China, Carbon Technocracy also offers a new window onto the origins of the global environmental crisis.

Honorable Mentions

Reginald Jackson, A Proximate Remove: Queering Intimacy and Loss in The Tale of Genji (University of California Press)

Past Awards

John Whitney Hall Book Prize

1994 Carter J. Eckert, Offspring of Empire, the Koch’and and Kims and the Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism, 1876-1945

1995 Melinda Takeuchi, Taiga’s True Views: The Language of Landscape Painting in Eighteenth-Century Japan

1996 Richard J. Samuels, “Rich Nation, Strong Army”: National Security and the Technological Transformation of Japan

1997 John Whittier Treat, Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb

1998 James B. Palais, Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions: Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty

1999 Susan B. Hanley, Everyday Things in Premodern Japan: The Hidden Legacy of Material Culture

2000 William M. Tsutsui, Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in 20th Century Japan

2001 Mark J. Hudson, Ruins of Identity: Ethnogenesis in the Japanese Islands

2002 Thomas Lamarre, Uncovering Heian Japan: An Archeology of Sensation and Inscription

2003 E. Taylor Atkins, Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan

2004 Andre Schmid, Korea Between Empires, 1895-1919

2005 Jordan Sand, House and Home in Modern Japan: Architecture, Domestic Space, and Bourgeois Culture, 1880-1930

2006 Andrew M. Watsky, Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan

2007 Eiko Ikegami, Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Networks and the Political Origins of Japanese Culture

2008 Karen Nakamura, Deaf in Japan: Signing and the Politics of Identity

2009 Ann Jannetta, The Vaccinators: Smallpox, Medical Knowledge, and the “Opening” of Japan

2010 Ken K. Ito, An Age of Melodrama: Family, Gender, and Social Hierarchy in the Turn-of-the-Century Japanese Novel

2011 Karen Thornber, Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature

2012 Lori Meeks, Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan

2013 Mary C. Brinton, Lost in Transition: Youth, Work, and Instability in Postindustrial Japan

2014 Yukio Lippit, Painting of the Realm: The Kano House of Painters in 17th-Century Japan

2015 Fabian Drixler, Mabiki: Infanticide and Population Growth in Eastern Japan, 1660-1950

2016 Ran Zwigenberg, Hiroshima: The Origins of Global Memory Culture

2017 Noriko Manabe, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima

2018 Satoko Shimazaki, Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost

2019 Bryan D. Lowe, Ritualized Writing: Buddhist Practice and Scriptural Cultures in Ancient Japan

2020 Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci, Contraceptive Diplomacy: Reproductive Politics and Imperial Ambitions in the United States and Japan

2021 Benjamin Uchiyama, Japan’s Carnival War: Mass Culture on the Home Front, 1937-1945

2022 Gabriele Koch, Healing Labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy