Hall Prize

John Whitney Hall Book Prize

The 29th annual John Whitney Hall Book Prize will be awarded at the AAS annual conference in 2023 for an outstanding English language book published on Japan during 2021.


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.


Nominations must be received by June 30, 2022 to be eligible for the 2023 awards.

Hall Prize Committee

Akiko Takenaka (Chair)
University of Kentucky

Charo D’Etcheverry
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Benjamin Uchiyama
University of Southern California

Gabriele Koch
Yale-NUS College

2022 Awards

Winner and Citation

Gabriele KochHealing Labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy (Stanford University Press, 2020) 

Healing Labor makes a powerful and notably nuanced contribution to the on-going conversation about how globalization and neoliberal policies have reshaped Japanese society and Japan’s labor market. While the study centers on Japanese women’s work in Japan’s booming sex trade, supported by rich ethnographic analysis of how these women understand their role in the industry,  it also interrogates the unintended effects of well-intentioned transnational movements (the fight against human trafficking, in this instance), shown here to as minimizing the agency of sex workers while allowing other Japanese to ignore the structural incentives for such labor within the Japanese economy itself. Written with elegance and clarity, Healing Labor demonstrates refreshing insights into the importance of understanding Japan’s economy in gendered terms by highlighting the lives of Japanese female sex workers.

Honorable Mention

Nozomi Naoi, Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth Century Japan (University of Washington Press, 2020); see media gallery at Art History Publication Initiative.

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