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Matthew Penney, PhD

Associate Professor, History

Matthew Penney, PhD

Matthew Penney is a specialist in postwar Japanese history. His research focuses on war memory, popular culture (especially manga and anime, mass market historical writing, and film), historiography, and nationalism. After graduating from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Penney studied at Kanazawa University under a Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT) Fellowship and went on to pursue a PhD from the University of Auckland as a participant in the Commonwealth Scholarship exchange plan. He is currently revising his dissertation “Victims and Victimizers: Representations of War in Japanese Popular Culture” for publication. He is a coordinator of the open source Asia Pacific Journal and has published articles on a wide variety of subjects.


B.A. Memorial University of Newfoundland, Ph.D. University of Auckland

Teaching activities



HIST 263/2 Section A

History of Japan

HIST 370/4 Section A

Japanese Popular Culture

HIST 889/3
PhD Seminar


Journal articles and book chapters

"Making History - Manga Between Kyara and Historiography”, in Manga and the Representation of Japanese History, ed. Roman Rosenbausm, London: Routledge, 2012.

“Nuclear Nationalism and Fukushima”, Asia-Pacific Journal, March 2012.

“Exploited and Mobilized: Poverty and Work in Contemporary Manga”, Mechademia, Vol. 6, 2011, pp. 52-66.

“Manga from Right to Left: History and Ideology in Contemporary Manga” in Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World, edited by Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog, Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2011,  pp. 151-170.

“Nationalism and Anti-Americanism in Japan: Manga Wars, Aso, Tamogami, and Progressive Alternatives”, Asia-Pacific Journal, April 2009.

“Foundations of Cooperation: Imagining the Future of Sino-Japanese Relations”, Asia-Pacific Journal, April 2008.

“Right Angles: Examining Accounts of Japanese Neo-nationalism” (with Bryce Wakefield), Pacific Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 4, Winter 2008, pp. 537-555. Reprinted in Critical Readings on Contemporary Japanese Politics, Vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill, 2012).

“Far from Oblivion: The Nanking Massacre in Japanese Historical Writing for Children and Young Adults”, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 22:1, 2008, pp. 25-48.

“‘War Fantasy’ and Reality: ‘War as Entertainment’ and Counter-narratives in Japanese Popular Culture”, Japanese Studies, Volume 27, Issue 1, 2007, pp. 35-52.

“The ‘most crucial education’: Saotome Katsumoto, globalization, and Japanese anti-war thought”, in Popular Culture, Globalization, and Japan, edited by Matthew Allen and Rumi Sakamoto, New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 192-201. [Available online here]

“China Comparisons: Images of China in Japanese Popular Non-Fiction”, Graduate Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, 4:2 (2006).

“Rising Sun, Iron Cross: Military Germany in Japanese Popular Culture”, Japanstudien, Vol. 17, 2005.

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