Smithsonian Journeys Experts

James McClain

photo of James McClain

James McClain received his Ph.D. from Yale University and has taught Japanese and Korean history at Brown University for nearly 25 years. He first visited Japan and Korea on a lark immediately after receiving his B.A. at the University of Michigan; the jaunt turned into a lifelong commitment to better understand these two compelling cultures and their interrelationships. McClain is the author of an award-winning book on Kanazawa: A Castle Town in Seventeenth-Century Japan (Yale University Press, 1982), and more recently a 700-page textbook, Japan: a Modern History, published in 2001 by W.W. Norton. He has further co-edited two volumes on Japanese cities, Edo and Osaka, in addition to articles in important venues. His research has won support over the years from the Japan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.