Key Research Interests

Sherzod Muminov researches the history of twentieth-century Japan within the larger contexts of imperialism, World War II, the Cold War and other domestic and international entanglements. While he has conducted extensive research in Japan, having worked in major archives (the Diplomatic Archives of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Diet Library, the Research Library of the National Institute for Defence Studies, etc) and conducted interviews, Sherzod is interested in researching Japanese history “from the outside” based on materials in other languages. He analyses transformations in modern Japanese society through transnational encounters (e.g. the experiences of Japanese captives in Soviet camps) at the intersection of historical periods and in liminal, borderline spaces.

Sherzod is currently working on a book, to be published by Harvard University Press, that will be the first comprehensive English-language history of the “Siberian Internment” – the forced migration, detention, labour exploitation and propaganda education of over 600,000 Japanese former servicemen and civilians in the POW camps of the Soviet Union in the decade after World War II. The internment was one of the largest forced migrations in recent history; the defeated soldiers of the Japanese Empire worked alongside millions of Axis POWs and Soviet citizens in the vast system of forced labour camps of the USSR. In the camps, they underwent a meticulous “re-education” program, an experience that brought them under suspicion upon return to the US-occupied and increasingly anti-communist Japan. Despite the transnational nature of the Japanese captives’ experiences, the Siberian Internment has for seven decades been studied as a chapter of Japan’s history, and has been largely unknown internationally. Sherzod’s monograph will analyse the internment as a global history event based on an extensive range of diverse primary sources in Japanese, Russian, and English.

Sherzod is also interested in the history of Japanese communism and leftism in the twentieth century, the origins of the Cold War in East Asia, and the history of the Soviet system of POW camps.

ID: 116714205