Steven J. Ericson

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of History

Steven Ericson specializes in the history of Japan with a focus on the country's modern transformation. His research centers on government financial and industrial policies and their economic and social effects in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is the author of The Sound of the Whistle: Railroads and the State in Meiji Japan (Harvard, 1996) and co-editor of The Treaty of Portsmouth and Its Legacies (University Press of New England, 2008). He is currently writing a book on the Japanese financial reform of the early 1880s.


209 Carson Hall
HB 6107


  • B.A. Michigan State University
  • A.M. Harvard University
  • Ph.D. Harvard University

Selected Publications

  • "Orthodox Finance and 'The Dictates of Practical Expediency': Influences on Matsukata Masayoshi and the Financial Reform of 1881-1885," Monumenta Nipponica, vol. 71, no. 1 (2016) 83-117

  • Japonica, Indica: Rice and Foreign Trade in Meiji Japan,” Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 41 (Summer 2015) 317-345.

  • “The ‘Matsukata Deflation’ Reconsidered: Financial Stabilization and Japanese Exports in a Global Depression, 1881-85,” Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 40 (Winter 2014) 1-28.

  • “The Treaty of Portsmouth and Its Legacies,” co-edited with A Hockley (2008).

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Works In Progress

  • “The Matsukata Financial Reform of 1881-1885”

  • Zaibatsu Dissolution and Its Legacies for Postwar Japanese Business