Mary Elizabeth Berry

Class of 1944 Professor of History Emerita


Ph.D., Harvard University, 1975, History and East Asian Languages
M.A., Harvard University, 1970, Regional Studies: East Asia
A.B., Manhattanville College, 1968, Asian Studies

Research Interests

East Asia: pre-modern Japan

Academic Appointments

University of California, Berkeley, 1978 to present.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1974-1978.

Kyoto University, Visiting Scholar, 1978-1979, 1986-1987.

Stanford University, Visiting Professor, 2004-2005.

Jawarhalal Nehru University, Visiting Professor, 2006.

University of Cambridge, Robinson College, Visiting Fellow, 2006.

International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, Visiting Scholar, 2007.

Fellow of the National Humanities Center, 2014-15.

Major Professional Service

UCB Appointments as Chair:

            Department of Demography (2017-18);

            Department of Anthropology (2013-14);

            Department of History (2007-12);

            Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies (1998-2000).

UCB Additional Appointments:

UC Presidential Search Committee, Academic Senate Representative, 2012-13;

Institute of East Asian Studies, Interim Director, 2001;

Center for Japanese Studies, Chair, 1991-95, 1997-98;

Townsend Center for the Humanities, Board of Directors, 1996-1999.

Association for Asian Studies:

            President, 2004-05;

            Vice-President, 2013-04;

            Publications Committee, 1986-88;

            Board of Directors, 1983-86;

            Northeast Asian Regional Council, 1983-86.

American Historical Association:

            Pacific Coast Branch President, 2017-18;

            Research Division, 2007-10;

Selection Committee, Award for Scholarly Distinction, 1997;

Nominating Committee, 1995-98.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences:

            Chair, Class IV (Humanities & Arts) Membership Com, 2016— (Member 2014—);

            Chair, Section 2 (History) Membership Panel, 2014— (Member, 2012—).

Japan Foundation:

Chair, American Advisory Committee, 2004-2008

Chair, Doctoral Fellowship Sub-Committee, 2002-2008 (Member 1999-08);

Chair, Abe Fellowship Program Review, 2008.

Society of Japanese Studies:

Board of Directors, 1987-2001, 2002-08.

Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies (Yokohama):

Board of Directors, 1991-2002;
Steering Committee, 1995-96;
Selection Committee for Head, 1995.

External Program Review Committees:

            University of Pennsylvania, Department of History, 1994-95;

            University of Oregon, East Asian Studies, 2006;

            University of British Columbia, East Asian Studies, 2007;

            Johns Hopkins University, East Asian Studies, 2011;

            University of Southern California, History, 2014-15;

            University of Toronto, East Asian Studies, 2015-16;

            University of Pennsylvania, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, 2016-17.

Journal of Japanese Studies:

Editorial Board, 1989-2006;

Advisory Board, 1987-89.

American Historical Review:

Board of Editors, 1997-2000.

Journal of Asian Studies:

Assistant Editor, 1985-87;

Japan Book Review Editor, 1983-85.

Dallas Museum of Art:

Historical Advisor for the exhibition Japan's Golden Age: Momoyama

(sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Culture), 1995-96.

National Endowment for the Humanities:

Panel of Reviewers, Division of Research Programs, 1994-95.

Fulbright, Council for International Exchange of Scholars:

Chair, Screening Committee in East Asian History and Literature, 1991-92
(Member 1990-92).

Mombusho (Japan's Ministry of Education):

Scholarship Selection Committee, 1988.

Urasenke Foundation of Northern California:

Chair, Board of Directors, 1993-2002.

Japan Society of Northern California:

Advisor, 1993-95.

Work as a Referee:

  • University Presses: California, Harvard, Princeton, Michigan;
  • Journals: American Historical Review, Canadian Journal of History, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Japanese Studies, Monumenta Nipponica;
  • Organizations: International Predissertation Fellowship Committee of SSRC, National Endowment for the Humanities, University of British Columbia Hampton Fund.


Election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2009.

Appointment as Class of 1944 Professor of History, 2007.

Appointment as Dean's Professor of East Asian History, 2005.

Appointment as Yamato Ichihashi Visiting Professor of Japanese History and Civilization, Stanford University, 2004-2005.

Appointment as Edwin McClellan Lecturer, Yale University, Spring 2002.

Appointment as Lawrence Stone Lecturer, Princeton University, Spring 2002.

Appointment as Distinguished Lecturer on Japan, Association of Asian Studies, 1995-96.

Distinguished Teaching Award, Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society and the Graduating History Majors of UCB, 1995.

Berkeley Book Prize for The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto, 1995.

Appointment as a Senior Faculty Fellow, Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley, 1993-94.

Major Publications


Hideyoshi, Harvard University Press, 1982.

The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto, University of California Press, 1994.

Chizu to ezu no seiji bunka-shi (Mapping and Politics in Premodern Japan), Kuroda Hideo, Mary Elizabeth Berry, and Sugimoto Fumiko, eds, University of Tokyo Press, 2001.

Japan in Print: Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period, University of California Press, 2006.

What Is a Family? Answers from Early Modern Japan, Mary Elizabeth Berry and Marcia Yonemoto, eds, forthcoming from University of California Press.

In preparation: The Economic Culture of 17th-Century Japan.


"Restoring the Past: The Documents of Hideyoshi's Magistrate in Kyoto," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 43:1 (June 1983).

"Public Peace and Private Attachment: The Goals and Conduct of Power in Early Modern Japan," Journal of Japanese Studies, 12:2 (Summer 1986).

"Edo no chizu ga kataru mono" (The Stories Edo Maps Are Telling), Libellus, 7 (December 1992).

"Edo jidai no chizu-zō o tsujite mita toshi no kinseiteki kannen" (Early Modern Visions of the City as Conveyed in Edo Period Maps), Hikaku toshi-shi kenkyū, 12:1 (June 1993).

"Was Early Modern Japan Culturally Integrated?" Modern Asian Studies, 31:3 (1997). Reprinted in Victor Lieberman, ed., Beyond Binary Histories: Re-imagining Eurasia to c. 1830, University of Michigan Press, 1999.

"Public Life in Authoritarian Japan," Daedalus, 127:3 (Summer 1998).

"Strangers and Brothers: The Jesuits 'Make Home' in Japan," Proceedings of the International Symposium to Commemorate the 450th Anniversary of St. Francis Xavier's Landing in Japan, Kagoshima, Japan, October 1999.

"Maps Are Strange; Mapmakers Are Strangers" in Kuroda, Berry, and Sugimoto, eds., Chizu to ezu no seiji bunka-shi, 2001.

"Preface" to Chizu to ezu no seiji bunka-shi, with Kuroda and Sugimoto, 2001.

"Conventional Knowledge in Early Modern Japan," in Gail Bernstein, Andrew Gordon, and Kate Nakai, eds., Public Sphere, Private Lives in Modern Japan, 1600-1950, Harvard University Asia Center, 2005.

"Samurai Trouble: Thoughts on War and Loyalty," AAS Presidential Address, Journal of Asian Studies, 64:4 (November 2005).

“Forward” to Collecting Asia: East Asian Libraries in North America, 1868-2008, Peter X. Zhou, ed., The Association for Asian Studies, 2010.

“(Even Radical) Illustration Requires (Normalizing) Convention: The Case of ‘Genre Art’ in Early Modern Japan,” Journal of Visual Culture, 9:3 (December 2010).

“Defining Early Modern” in Karl F. Friday, ed., Japan Emerging: Premodern History to1850, Westview Press, 2012.

“What Is A Street” in Kären Wigen, Fumiko Sugimoto, and Cary Karacas, eds.,Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps, University of Chicago Press, 2016.

“Saying Yes! To Now: The Strange Case of the Tokugawa Turn to Modernity, c.1600,” Pacific Historical Review, 88:1 (Winter 2019).

“Family Trouble: Views from the Stage and a Merchant Archive,” forthcoming in What Is a Family? Answers from Early Modern Japan.

“Introduction,” with Marcia Yonemoto, forthcoming in What is a Family? Answers from Early Modern Japan.


"Japan in the Muromachi Age," ed. John W. Hall and Toyoda Takeshi, in Journal of Japanese Studies, 4:1(1978):187-198.

"The Medieval Japanese Daimyo," by Peter J. Arnesen, in Monumenta Nipponica, 36:2(1981):187-193.

"The Bakufu in Japanese History," ed. Jeffrey P. Mass and William Hauser, in Journal of Japanese Studies, 13:1(1987):186-194.

"The Cambridge History of Japan," Volume 3, ed. Kozo Yamamura, in Journal of Japanese Studies, 18:2(1992):479-492.

"Architecture and Authority in Japan," by William H. Coaldrake, in Journal of Japanese Studies, 24:2(1998):401-406.

Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan,” by Nam-lin Hur, in Journal of Asian Studies 67: 1(2008): 321-23.

“Performing the Great Peace: Political Space and Open Secrets in Tokugawa Japan,” by Luke Roberts, in American Historical Review 118:2 (2013): 500-01.

Portrait of Professor Emerita Mary Elizabeth Berry


3213 Dwinelle Hall