Jing SUN


PhD Candidate

Modern Japan, East Asia, World History

Exam Committee: Frederick R. Dickinson (advisor), Siyen Fei, Walter A. McDougall.

Dissertation Committee: Frederick R. Dickinson (advisor), Eiichiro Azuma, Sebastián Gil-Riaño.

Teaching Fields: Modern Japanese history, Late imperial and modern Chinese history, US international history. 


Dissertation: Nurturing a Robust Society: Japan in the Making of the Global Science of Nutrition, 1869-1951. 

My dissertation examines Japan’s role in the emergence and development of a global science of nutrition. I engage the following questions: how did nutrition science emerge and develop in modern Japan? In what way did Japanese discussions about food and nutrition engage with and contribute to global debates over nutrition science? What do Japanese discussions reveal about the world and Japanese society from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries?

This dissertation argues that nutrition science in modern Japan emerged from a transnational discussion of the role of food in improving health and curing disease since the late nineteenth century. It was a subject of widespread interest worldwide. Being active participants in the international collaborative projects such as the standardization of vitamins, and the first to establish a national research institute and a professional college to train nutritionists, Japanese medical scientists championed the institutionalization of nutrition science and pioneered its global development. Meanwhile, politicians, bureaucrats, soldiers, agriculturalists, schoolteachers and housewives in Japan embraced the scientific knowledge of nutrition to improve quality of life and create a robust society. Achievements of the research and practice of nutrition science in Japan attracted attention globally. They represented an emerging global society that featured transnational knowledge circulation, intellectual cooperation and a shared pursuit of a better life. Thus, nutrition science, most often tied to wartime mobilization and capitalist production in modern Japan, is more appropriately viewed as a critical pillar in the global quest for scientific knowledge and social welfare from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century.



B.A. International Politics, Peking University, China (2013)
B.A. International Liberal Studies, Waseda University, Japan (2013)
M.A. Asia-Pacific Studies, Peking University, China (2016)
M.P.P. Campus Asia Program, The University of Tokyo, Japan (2016)

Research Interests

War and society in Modern Japan and East Asia; Food History, History of Medicine, Science and Technology; World History

Courses Taught

Grader: Media History (2011-2, Waseda University, Japan); International Law (2014Spring, Peking University, China); American Diplomatic History since 1776 (2017Fall, UPenn); Comparative Capitalist Systems (2018Spring, UPenn).

TA: Modern American Culture (2018Fall, UPenn); History of Modern China (2019Spring, UPenn).

CV (file)