Hall Prize

John Whitney Hall Book Prize

The 28th annual John Whitney Hall Book Prize will be awarded at the AAS annual conference in 2022 for an outstanding English language book published on Japan during 2020.


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 July 15, 2021 to be eligible for the 2022 awards.

Hall Prize Committee

Akiko Takenaka (Chair)
University of Kentucky

Benjamin Uchiyama
University of Southern California

Charo D’Etcheverry
University of Wisconsin-Madison

2021 Awards

Winner and Citation

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

Benjamin Uchiyama, Japan’s Carnival War: Mass Culture on the Home Front, 1937-1945. Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Japan’s Carnival War demonstrates that war produces culture. The book challenges the notion of a total war as a top down, completely controlled space of Japanese authorities and reveals a carnivalesque atmosphere that produced a topsy-turvy moment in which the reporter, the munitions worker, the soldier, the movie star, and the youth aviator emerged as important figures of mass culture for channelling popular desires through consumerism and entertainment. By doing so, it provides explication of how the total war and the violence of war came to be justified through a carnival-like atmosphere.

Uchiyama’s multi-layered research reveals the dialectic relationships between war mobilization and mass culture, state censorship and cultural creativity, and nationalistic self-sacrifice and transnational consumerist desires. Uchiyama integrates a wide variety of primary sources, from newspaper reports and essays to diaries, memoirs, films, cartoons, intelligence reports, and advertisements. Shedding light on little-known aspects of wartime culture, the book contributes to a longer transwar history of mass cultural expressions of the grotesque and nonsensical. By reading wartime culture as an unintended side-effect of mass mobilization, Japan’s Carnival War creates a new paradigm for the interpretation of war around the globe.

Honorable Mention

Cover of Kirsten L. Ziomek, Lost Histories: Recovering the Lives of Japan’s Colonial Peoples
Kirsten L. Ziomek, Lost Histories: Recovering the Lives of Japan’s Colonial Peoples. Harvard University Asia Center, 2019.