Tom Le

Associate Professor of Politics; On leave Spring 2022
With Pomona Since: 2015
  • Expertise

    Expertise

    Professor Tom Le’s research areas include Japanese security policy, the U.S.-Japan alliance, war memory and reconciliation, militarism norms, military and security balance in East Asia and East Asia regionalism. Among his areas of expertise: constraints and restraints on Japanese militarism and Japan-South Korea relations. His current work includes examinations of the impact of population demographics and technology on security and antinuclear movements and the environment. Le is the author of Japan's Aging Peace: Pacifism and Militarism in the Twenty-First Century (2021).

    Le has written for The Washington Post and The Diplomat.

    Le was a Sasakawa Peace Foundation non-resident fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS and a Fulbright Fellow.

    Research Interests

    Militarism norms, war memory and reconciliation, Japanese security policy, U.S.-Japan alliance, and East Asia regionalism, comparative politics, international relations.

    Areas of Expertise

    • U.S.-Japan Alliance
    • War Memory and Reconciliation
    • Japanese Security Policy
    • Japan-South Korea relations
    • East Asia Regionalism
    • Militarism Norms
    • Comparative Politics
    • International Relations
  • Work

    Work

    Book

    Japan's Aging Peace: Pacifism and Militarism in the Twenty-First Century (2021).

    Referred Journal Articles

    “Negotiating in Good Faith: Overcoming Legitimacy Problems in the Japan-South Korea Reconciliation Process.” Journal of Asian Studies. 78, 3, 621-644. (2019)

    “Japan and the Revolution in Military Affairs.” Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs. 5, 2, 172-196. (2018)

    Book Chapters

    “Northeast Asia.” In J. Sperling (Ed.), Handbook of Governance and Security (pp. 188-215). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. (with Robert Uriu; 2014)

    Public Commentary

    “North Korea: Outcomes and implications,” Global North Korea, East Asia Institute (November 2019).

    “China will dominate high-tech unless the United States takes off the gloves,” The National Interest (September 2019). (with Lucy Gold and Ryan Levy) “South Korea and Japan must cooperate more, not less, on North Korea,” Nikkei Asian Review (August 2019).

    “Why Japan-South Korea history keeps resurfacing,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage (July 2019).

    “It’s not just Trump: Why North Korea won’t denuclearize,” International Policy Digest (July 2019). (with Lucy Gold and Ryan Levy)

    “America’s new danger zone: Divisions with Japan could wreck negotiations with North Korea,” The National Interest (April 2019).

    “The bogus backlash against ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ International Policy Digest (August 2018).

    “The fight for human rights in North Korea,” East Asia Forum (May 2018).  (with Kent Boydston)

    “Looking beyond 1 percent: Japan’s security expenditures,” The Diplomat (April 2018). (with Crystal Pryor)

    “What it means to be an ally: A Vietnamese-American’s view on the US in the Vietnam War,” The Diplomat (October 2017).

    “Living with failure on the Korean peninsula,” East Asia Forum (May 2017).

    “Reviving the ‘pivot to Asia’,” East Asia Forum (March 2017). (with Mieczysław P. Boduszyński)

    “The price of Abe’s pragmatism,” Foreign Affairs (March 2017).

    “Is America abandoning Japan,” The National Interest (February 2017). (with J. Berkshire Miller)

    “Presidential debate should include nuclear weapons discussion,” The Hill (October 2016).

    “In Hiroshima, Obama and Abe are pledging to stop nuclear proliferation. Their actions don’t match their words,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage (May 2016).

    “How Trump is Already Damaging US Alliances,” The Diplomat (May 2016).

    “Japan’s security bills: Overpromising and under-delivering,” The Diplomat (October 2015). Reprinted by The Japan Times.

    “The consequences of shaming politics in East Asia,” The Diplomat (July 2014).

    Fellowships and Grants (Selected)

    US Next Generation Research Program Grant ($33,000), Korea Foundation (2019-2020)

    CION Trust Grant for Bombs, Birds, and Beauty ($60,000) (with Nina Karnovsky, Kyoko Kurita and Rebecca McGrew) (2018-2020)

    US-Korea NextGen Fellowship, KSI-CSIS (2018-2020)

    Next Generation Fellowship, American Friends of the International House of Japan (2018-2021)

    Travel Grant, Korea World Congress (2017)

    Non-resident Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship, Pacific Forum CSIS (2014-2016)

    Fulbright Fellowship, U.S. Department of State (IIE) (2014-2015) 

    Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellowship, Japan Foundation (declined) (2013-2014)

    JASSO Research Scholarship, Monbukagakusho (Government of Japan) (2012)

    Working Papers

    “Shin Godzilla, Japanese Security, and International Relations Theory”

    “The Consequences of Compromise: Lessons from Reconstruction Era America and Post-WWII East Asia”

    “Understanding Global Reponses to Terrorism: What Drives Opinions on Terror” (with Neil Chaturvedi)

    “Finding the Results in Non-Results: Arguments for Reporting Non-Results” (with Neil Chaturvedi)

    “In Times of Need: An Examination of the Auxiliary Benefits of Soft Power”

    Track-II Dialogues and Conferences

    Pacific Forum US-ROK-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue, Maui, HI (September 2019)

    Pacific Forum CSIS US-ROK-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue, Maui, HI (June 2017)

    CSIS-JIIA Security Seminar, Washington D.C. (March 2016)

    Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), Singapore (January 2016)

    IPU-WSD Forum on International Development, Tokyo, Japan, (May 2015)

    ROK-Japan-US Trilateral Young Leaders Dialogue, Seoul, South Korea (November 2014)

    Global Opinion Leaders Summit, Tokyo, Japan (October 2014)

    Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), Tokyo, Japan (July 2014)

    Conference Presentations (Selected)

    “Shin Godzilla, Japanese Security, and International Relations Theory,” Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, Washington D.C., March 2018

    “Understanding Global Responses to Terrorism: What Drives Opinions on Terror,” Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2017 (with Neil Chaturvedi)

    “Finding the Results in Non-Results: Arguments for Reporting Non-Results,” Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA, 2017 (with Neil Chaturvedi)

    “Negotiating in Good Faith: Overcoming Legitimacy Problems in the Japan-South Korea Reconciliation Process,” Korea World Congress, Seoul, South Korea, June 2017

    “Negotiating in Good Faith: Overcoming Legitimacy Problems in the Japan-South Korea Reconciliation Process,” ISA-Hong Kong, Hong Kong, June 2017

    “Negotiating in Good Faith: Overcoming Legitimacy Problems in the Japan-South Korea Reconciliation Process,” discussant at Korean Studies Institute Graduate Student Symposium, USC, Los Angeles, CA, April 2017

    “Bargaining in Good Faith: A Role for the U.S. in the Japan-ROK Reconciliation Process,” The Hope of a New Generation Pacific Forum CSIS Conference, Honolulu, HI, March 2016

    Invited Talks and Lectures (Selected)

    “Shin Godzilla and the Limits of American International Relations Theory,” Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan, October 2018

    “Options with Consequences: The Trump-Kim Summit and the North Korea Humanitarian and Nuclear Puzzles,” keynote address at Pomona in the City of Seattle, Seattle, WA, June 2018

    “Japan’s Aging Peace: Finding Security Among Militarisms,” Pomona in the City of Los Angeles, December 2017

    “Crafting an Enduring Peace Agreement between Japan and South Korea,” Hiroshima City University, Hiroshima, Japan, 2017

    “Japanese Peace Culture and Identity,” Japanese-American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA, February 2017

    “Japanese Peace Culture and Identity,” Claremont Public Library, Claremont, CA, October 2016

    “Bargaining in Good Faith: A Role for the U.S. in the Japan-ROK Reconciliation Process,” Jonathan Club, Los Angeles, CA, May 2016

    “Presidential Primary Process: Politicians, Parties & Possibilities, panel discussant at Arsalyn Youth Forums: Presidential Primary Process, Duarte, CA, September 2015

    ADDITIONAL TRAINING

    Japan Studies Summer Institute, Japan Foundation (2017)

    Japan Studies Summer Institute, Japan Foundation (2016)

    Institute for Qualitative and Multi-method Research (IQMR), Syracuse University (2012)

    Professional Service

    Co-editor, Politics and History Section Newsletter, APSA (2016 - Present)                                                  

    Dissertation Committee, Eivande Lande at the NTNU (2018 - 2019)

    Reviewer, East Asia: An International Quarterly (2019)

    Reviewer, Journal of Human Rights (2019)

    Teaching

    International Relations Senior Seminar (Fall 2019)

    International Relations Intermediate Seminar (Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018)

    International Relations of East Asia (Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017)

    Security and Cooperation in International Relations (Spring 2016, Spring 2018)

    Introduction to International Relations (Spring 2016, Fall 2017)

  • Education

    Education

    Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
        Hiroshima City University

    M.A., University of California, Irvine

    B.A., University of California, Davis

  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    US-Korea NextGen Scholars Program, CSIS
    Next Generation Fellowship, American Friends of the International House of Japan

    Summer Institute Program, Japan Foundation, Summer 2016

    Wig Fund Teaching Innovation Grant, Pomona College, Fall 2015

    Non-resident Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship, Pacific Forum CSIS, 2014-2016

    Fulbright Fellowship, U.S. Department of State (IIE), 2013-2015

    Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellowship, Japan Foundation, 2013-2014 (declined)

    Summer Research Grant, University of California, Irvine, 2008-2013 (5 times)

    Dean’s Commendation for Outstanding Teaching, University of California, Irvine, 2008-2013 (11 times)

    President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of California, Irvine, 2013-2014 (alternate)

    Research Grant, Center for Asian Studies, Summer 2013 (declined)

    Research Grant, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Summer 2013

    Associate Dean’s Fellowship, University of California, Irvine, Winter 2013

    JASSO Research Scholarship, Monbukagakusho (Government of Japan), Summer 2012

    Research Grant, Center for Asian Studies, Summer 2012

    Research Grant, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Summer 2012

    UC President’s Washington Program Scholarship, University of California, Davis, Winter 2005