Jennings, John M. 1962–

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Jennings, John M. 1962–

(John Mark Jennings)

PERSONAL: Born November 26, 1962, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Thomas R. and Elizabeth A. (Safko) Jennings; married Kayoko Hatanaka, January 6, 1989; children: Thomas Katsumi, James Katsuya. Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.A., 1985; University of Hawaii at Manoa, M.A., 1988, Ph.D., 1995. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, surf fishing, Kendo.

ADDRESSES: Home—7715 Montane Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920. Office—Department of History, U.S. Air Force Academy, 2354 Fairchild Dr., Ste. 6F101, Colorado Springs, CO 80840. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Suburban Publications, Inc., Wayne, PA, reporter and film reviewer, 1985–86; Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, visiting researcher, 1992–95; Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, assistant professor, 1995–96; U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, assistant professor, 1997–99, associate professor, 2000–02, professor of history, 2003–.

MEMBER: American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Association for Asian Studies, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.


The Opium Empire: Japanese Imperialism and Drug Trafficking in Asia, 1895–1945, Praeger Publishers (Westport, CT), 1997.

(Editor) Encountering Barbarians: Essays in the History of East Asian International Relations, 1428–1956, Imprint Publications (Chicago, IL), in press.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Taxed in Blood: A History of the Imperial Japanese Army, 1868–1945, publication by Reaktion Books (London, England) expected in 2007.

SIDELIGHTS: The Opium Empire: Japanese Imperialism and Drug Trafficking in Asia, 1895–1945 traces the history of the drug opium in relation to Japan's rise to power. Reviewing the book in the American Historical Review, Michael A. Barnhart wrote that The Opium Empire "sheds much light on a neglected aspect of imperial Japan's overseas endeavors."

John M. Jennings writes that Japan's Meiji leaders of the late 1800s and early 1900s established a government monopoly to distribute opium for medicinal uses only. Japan then stopped both producing the drug domestically and importing it. When Japan acquired the island of Taiwan and 200,000 addicts living there, Japanese officials started registering opium users and giving them the drug through the government monopoly. Japan hoped this would curtail and eventually eliminate opium use. Yet the numbers of addicts did not significantly decrease. Japan controlled the production and distribution of opium throughout its colonies, overseeing opium production in Korea after World War I and sending the drug to such places as Taiwan and Manchuria. Despite the government monopoly, the opium trade proved lucrative for some. Jennings observes that the decline of Japan's empire following a war with China and its involvement in World War II parallels Japan's diminishing role in the opium trade.

Barnhart commented: "Jennings's story is often colorful and always fascinating. It is to his credit that he has written it from hard-to-find sources. His reluctance to be bolder in his judgements and his refusal to be more forceful in advocating his own hypothesis of the dominance of market forces are the only, minor weaknesses." While Choice contributor J.C. Perry observed that The Opium Empire may interest specialists more than the general reader, the reviewer noted that the work "is a product of impressively diligent scholarship. It is well organized, succinct, and soundly reasoned." Discussing The Opium Empire in Pacific Affairs, Joyce A. Madancy concluded: "Jennings's work substantially expands our knowledge of the complexity of Japan's 'Opium Empire,' particularly with regards to the workings of Japan's opium monopolies in Taiwan, Korea, and Manchukuo [Manchuria], and his concise and cogently written volume will be extremely useful for students and scholars interested in untangling the web of complicity in the East Asian opium trade."



American Historical Review, October, 1998, Michael A. Barnhart, review of The Opium Empire: Japanese Imperialism and Drug Trafficking in Asia, 1895–1945, pp. 1299-1300.

Choice, November, 1997, J.C. Perry, review of The Opium Empire, p. 541.

Pacific Affairs, fall, 1998, Joyce A. Madancy, review of The Opium Empire, pp. 425-426.

Reference and Research Book News, August, 1997, review of The Opium Empire, p. 101.

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Jennings, John M. 1962–

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