Robert I. Hellyer is Associate Professor of History at Wake Forest University and a specialist in the history of early modern and modern Japan. His first research project explored early modern Japan’s foreign relations with neighboring Asian states and its adoption of modern international relations in the mid nineteenth century. He presented that research in a monograph, Defining Engagement: Japan and Global Contexts, 1640-1868 (Harvard University Asia Center, 2009), and in several journal articles and book chapters. He is currently completing a monograph, “An American Cup of Green Tea—Made in Japan,” that examines Japan’s development of a tea export trade to the United States in the late nineteenth century. He has published several book chapters on that topic and received Smithsonian, Japan Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships to support research in Japan and the United States.
Dr. Hellyer is also a co-organizer of a multi-year research project involving historians in North America, Europe, and Japan that is exploring within global history the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s modern revolution, in advance of the 150-year anniversary in 2018. For that project he has examined how in just under a decade, Japan overcame deep, internal political divisions and a brief but bitter civil war to develop nationalism and coalesce into a unified nation-state in the 1870s.
Before coming to Wake Forest in 2005, he served on the faculty at Allegheny College and the University of Tokyo, and also held a visiting position at Keio University in Tokyo. Dr. Hellyer received his B.A. degree from Claremont McKenna College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.