Today's examination of Consul Sugihara’s role in the wartime escape of Jews from Lithuania and its postwar commemoration is part of Kowner's on-going study of Japan’s policies towards Jews in modern times and during World War II in particular. Earlier, he was the first to investigate the Japanese wartime policies regarding the Jewish community in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).
Rotem Kowner is professor of modern Japanese history at the University of Haifa, Israel. A founder of the Department of Asian Studies at his institution, he served as its first chair from 2002 to 2008. He is the immediate past chair of the Israeli Association of Japanese Studies, which he co-founded in 2012, and currently he is the head of the Liberal Arts program at the University of Haifa and the inter-university graduate program The Asian Sphere.
Kowner's research has focused on Japan’s wars and imperial expansion, alongside questions of race and identity in modern Japan. His recent works in these domains include the monograph From White to Yellow (vol. I): The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1735 (McGill-Queens University Press, 2014), the two co-edited volumes Race and Racism in Modern East Asia (Brill, 2013-2015); the second edition of his Historical Dictionary of the Russo–Japanese War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), as well as numerous articles. Two more books are forthcoming: From Yellow to Inferior: The Japanese and the Dawn of Modern Racial Thought, 1735-1854 (McGill-Queen's University Press; and The Battle of Tsushima (Oxford University Press).