Chalmers Johnson

Chalmers Johnson

American writer and professor emeritus
Date of Birth: 06.08.1931
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Chalmers Johnson
  2. Early Career and Military Service
  3. Contributions to Japanese Studies
  4. Consulting and Academia
  5. Critique of American Imperialism

Biography of Chalmers Johnson

Chalmers Johnson was an American writer and honorary professor at the University of California in San Diego. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1931 and obtained his Bachelor's degree in economics in 1953, followed by a Master's and Ph.D. in political science in 1957 and 1961 respectively, all from the University of California, Berkeley.

Early Career and Military Service

During the Korean War, Johnson served as a naval officer in Japan. He began teaching political science at the University of California in 1962 and continued until the end of his teaching career in 1992. In the early years of his career, he was best known as a specialist in China and Japan, establishing the direction of sociological research on China with his book on peasant nationalism.

Contributions to Japanese Studies

Johnson's notable work, "MITI and the Japanese Miracle," examined the role of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry in the country's development and laid the foundation for what can be called economic development policy. As a public intellectual, he led the "Japanese revisionists," who criticized American neoliberal policies and presented Japan as a model. Their arguments waned due to the stagnation of the Japanese economy from the mid-1990s onwards.

Consulting and Academia

During this period, Johnson worked as a consultant for the National Intelligence Council, part of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he analyzed China and Maoism. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1976 and held various important academic positions in the field of education, including Director of the Center for Chinese Studies and Chair of the Political Science Department at Berkeley. He emphasized the importance of language and historical preparation for conducting serious research. Later on, he became well-known as a critic of rational choice theory, particularly in the study of Japanese politics and political economy.

Critique of American Imperialism

In recent years, Chalmers Johnson is most recognized as a sharp critic of American imperialism. His book "Blowback" in 2001 won the Before Columbus Foundation award and was reissued in an updated edition in 2004. "Sorrows of Empire," published in 2004, included updated evidence and arguments from "Blowback" in the context of the post-September 11 attacks, and "Nemesis" concludes the trilogy.