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Many people and institutions assisted in writing this book. I had two intellectual godfathers at the University of California, Berkeley: Andrew Barshay, who inspired me to study the Japanese Left, and Yuri Slezkine, who made Russia and Russian history exciting again for me. My two intellectual godmothers were Mary Elizabeth Berry and Victoria Frede-Montemayor, who helped me find my own voice in writing history and are simply everything that I aspire to be. My special thanks go first and foremost to them. John Connelly, Alan Tansman, and Wen-hsin Yeh in Berkeley encouraged this project from its inception. At Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, Germany, Andreas Renner provided invaluable support to complete the book manuscript. My colleagues at New York University deserve my special gratitude for welcoming and supporting me: Ayse Baltaciuglu-Brammer, Zvi Ben-dor Benite, Jane Burbank, Frederick Cooper, Stephen Gross, Irvin Ibarguen, Rebecca Karl, Monica Kim, Yanni Kotsonis, David Ludden, Andrew Needham, Anne O’Donnell, and Susanah Romney. Conversations and friendship with colleagues at other universities stimulated my thinking: Anna Belogurova, Sheldon Garon, Carol Gluck, Yumi Kim, Mary Knighton, Paul Kreitman, Yukiko Koshiro, George Lazopoulos, Janis Mimura, Jason Morton, Mariko Naito, Saito Shohei, Seiji Shirane, Sören Urbansky, Miriam Voerkelius, Louise Young, and Max Ward. I am fortunate to have Brandon Schechter as my dear friend and colleague. In Japan, I have benefited from the counsel of Arima Manabu, Ishikawa Yoshihiro, Nakami Tatsuo, Tomita Takeshi, Umemori Naoyuki, and David Wolff.

I presented individual chapters at various meetings at UC Berkeley, Columbia, LMU in Munich, the University of Köln and Heidelberg, the University of Kyushu, and Waseda University. I am grateful for the opportunities to present my ideas and for the helpful questions I received. Two anonymous readers from Cornell University Press offered incisive comments for the improvement of the manuscript. I also wish to thank Kenneth Ross Yelsey from the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and Roger Haydon at Cornell University Press for their assistance in publishing this book.

Over the course of research and writing, I have received support from UC Berkeley, LMU in Munich, and NYU. A one-year research fellowship from the Japan Foundation gave me the chance to undertake my research in Japan. I want to thank the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies for the offer of a visiting researcher position. A postdoctoral fellowship from the German Excellence Initiative at LMU provided two wonderful and productive years in Munich. I also express appreciation to the Schoff Fund at The University Seminars at Columbia University, and the Center for the Humanities at NYU for their help in the publication of this book. Material in this work was presented at the History of Modern Japan seminar at Columbia University.

I am indebted to my partner, Alvaro Bonfiglio, for his immense patience and kindness, and to my two children, Gabriel and Mika Francesca, who were born during my doctoral years. The book is dedicated to my late mother, Svetlana, and my father, Leonid, in my native Buriatia—without their unconditional love none of this would be possible.

Note on Transliteration

Japanese names follow the customary Japanese order, surname first, unless the person uses Western name order in Western-language publications.

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