Andrew D. Gordon is a historian of modern Japan and a member of the history department at Harvard University. He has written about the evolution of Japanese labor-management relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the politics of labor in the early twentieth century. He recently turned his attention to the emergence of the middle class and a mass consumer society in Japan, publishing an article on the history of consumer credit.
While a fellow at the Institute, Gordon will write a history of the sewing machine in Japan. He will focus in particular on the Singer Family machine, which dominated world markets in the early twentieth century the way Microsoft dominates personal computing today. Following this machine's journey to becoming Japan's most widely owned consumer durable by the 1950s, he will explore how it transformed daily life, particularly gender roles and ideas of class and national identity articulated by sellers and users.
He has written, edited, or translated eight books. His second book, Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan (University of California Press, 1991), won the John King Fairbank Prize for the best book on modern East Asian history in 1992. His survey text A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2003) has recently been published in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean editions. He has held visiting professorships at Hosei University and Tokyo University. Gordon received his PhD from Harvard University in history and East Asian languages.