Rotem Kowner

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Rotem Kowner
Born 11 July 1960
Main interests History, especially the Russo-Japanese War
Major works The Impact of the Russo-Japanese War
Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions
and other books on Russo-Japanese War and Meiji era

Rotem Kowner (born 11 July 1960 in Mikhmoret) is an Israeli historian and psychologist specializing in the history of modern Japan, and a full professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Haifa.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Rotem Kowner was born and lived his early years in the Kibbutz of Mikhmoret. Then his family moved to Haifa, where he grew up and went to high school. He entered the Israeli Navy and served on a missile boat.

After majoring in East Asian Studies and psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he received a scholarship from the Japanese Education Ministry and studied for six years in Japan. Upon receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Tsukuba, he continued in postdoctoral studies at the Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University, and at the Hebrew University. In 1998 he began teaching at the University of Haifa as a senior lecturer and was promoted associate professor in 2004.[2] In 2004 Kowner served as a co-organizer of an international conference, held in Israel, titled The Russo-Japanese War and the 20th Century: An Assessment from a Centennial Perspectiveto commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War. He published several books about this topic as well as some articles like Nicholas II and the Japanese Body: Images and Decision Making on the Eve of the Russo-Japanese War and others (see list below).

In 2013 Kowner was promoted to full professor. He spent time as a visiting professor at Tokyo's Waseda University and the University of Geneva and is a member of a number of international journals.

He is the co-founder of the Annual Conference of Asian Studies in Israel and the Israeli Association of Japanese Studies (IAJS), and serves on the editorial board of several academic journals. Currently he is the director of the liberal arts program at the University of Haifa and member of the university's Senate, Board of Governors, and Executive Committee.[3]

Kowner is married and has three daughters and one son.


  • 1997 – On ignorance, respect, and suspicion : current Japanese attitudes towards Jews. Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. ASIN B007HF0B82.
  • 2005 – The Forgotten War between Russia and Japan – and its heritage.
  • 2006 – Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War. Scarecrow Press Inc. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5.
  • 2007 – The Impact of the Russo-Japanese War. Routledge, UK. ISBN 978-0-415-36824-7
  • 2007 – Rethinking the Russo-Japanese War 1904/05. BRILL/Global Oriental. ISBN 978-1-905246-03-8.
  • 2008 – Globally Speaking: Motives for Adopting English Vocabulary in Other Languages (Multilingual Matters). Multilingual Matters. ISBN 978-1-84769-051-7.
  • 2009 – The A to Z of the Russo-Japanese War. Scarecrow Press Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-6841-0.
  • 2012 – Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-23729-2.
  • 2014 – From White to Yellow: The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300–1735 (Mcgill-Queen's Studies in the History of Religion). Mcgill Queens Univ Pr. ISBN 978-0-7735-4455-0.


  • 1998 – Nicholas II and the Japanese Body: Images and Decision Making on the Eve of the Russo-Japanese War. Psychohistory Review.
  • 2000 – Lighter than yellow, but not enough: Western discourse on the Japanese 'race', 1854–1904. The Historical Journal 43, p. 103–131.[4]
  • 2000 – Japan's Enlighteded War: Military Conduct and Attitudes to the Enemy during the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese and Europe: Images and Perceoptions. Bert Edström.
  • 2001 – Becoming an Honorary Civilized Nation: The Russo-Japanese War and Western Perceptions of Japan. Historian.
  • 2004 – The skin as a metaphor: Early European racial perspectives on Japan, 1548–1853." Ethnohistory 51, p. 751–778.[5]
  • 2011 – An Obscure History – Jews in Indonesia. Inside Indonesia.


  • Kowner, Rotem (2006). Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5: The Scarecrow Press.