Erik Ropers

Associate Professor and Director of Asian Studies


Contact Information

Wednesday, 8-9, 2-5, and by appt.


Ph.D., The University of Melbourne, 2012

Areas of Expertise

Modern Japan (wartime Japan, forced labor), memory, cultural history, visual cultures, human rights

Erik Ropers is a historian of modern Japan, having joined the History Department in 2012 after completing a PhD in History at the University of Melbourne. His first book, Voices of the Korean Minority in Postwar Japan (under contract with Routledge), examines the ways in which Japanese -language scholars have understood and represented colonial Koreans subject to enforced labor and enforced military prostitution, as well as Korean victims of the atomic bombings. Current research projects include a manuscript looking at visual representations of wartime Japan in print culture drawing on past research. A second manuscript examines the legal history of the Hanaoka Massacre, its appearance at the Yokohama War Crimes Tribunal, and concomitant local memories in rural Akita Prefecture.

Beyond these projects, Dr. Ropers' research focuses broadly on the social and cultural history of twentieth-century Japan. Some of his other recent work has examined how Japanese wartime experiences have been visually and narratively represented in Japanese comics (manga), art, and literature, Japanese historical debates in the nineteen-nineties, and human rights issues stemming from Japan’s war in Asia. His teaching covers the Department’s introductory survey courses in East Asian History, a research seminar focused on wartime memory and violence in Asia, and advanced courses in Japanese history. Dr. Ropers also serves on the advisory board for the Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies.


Voices of the Korean Minority in Postwar Japan. (Routledge, forthcoming, 2019).

Written Into History: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Melbourne Historical Journal, 1961-2011 (co-edited with Keir Wotherspoon), Parkville: The Melbourne Historical Journal Collective, 2012.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles & Chapters

“Yū Miri’s Country of Masks and the Debates About Japan’s Wartime Past,” Southeast Review of Asian Studies 39 (2017), 63-83. 

"Debating History and Memory: Examining the Controversy Surrounding Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking," Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights 8, no. 1 (2017): 77-99.

“Shōgen, torauma, geijutsu: sensō to sengo no katari no shūgō-tekina bunseki.” In: Yoshii Hiroaki, ed., Sensō to mukiau shakaigaku, Meguro Akane, trans. (Tokyo: Akashi shoten, 2016).  (English title: “Testimony, Trauma, and Art: Collaborative Approaches to Narrating War and its Aftermath.”)

“Representations of Gendered Violence in Manga: The Case of Enforced Military Prostitution,” Japanese Studies 31 (2011): 249-266. Revised and expanded version in Roman Rosenbaum, ed., Manga and the Representation of Japanese History (London: Routledge, 2012).

“Testimonies as Evidence in the History of kyōsei renkō,” Japanese Studies 30 (2010): 263-282.

Recent Lectures and Presentations

"Visualizing the Hanaoka Massacre in Print," Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies, University of Pittsburgh.
"The Emergence of zainichi Korean hibakusha Writings and Testimonies," Fourth Conference, Dialogues on Historical Justice and Memory, Lund University, Sweden

Selected Awards and Honors

Association for Asian Studies NEAC Japan Grant, Fall 2016

University of Western Australia USAsia Centre Grant, 2014

UCLA Terasaki Research Grant, 2012

Courses Taught
 Fall 2018  
HIST 110 East Asian Civilization to the Nineteenth Century     
HIST 110 East Asian Civilization to the Nineteenth Century     
HIST 300 Introduction to Historical Study    
HIST 320 Japan, 1930 to the Present