James B. Lewis


Associate Professor of Korean History; Fellow of Wolfson College 

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies / Wolfson College



Research Interests:

  • History of Korean-Japanese relations prior to 1850
  • Economic and social histories of premodern Korea and Japan
  • Global history; environmental and epidemiological history of East Asia

Current Projects:

  • Collaborating on various papers in Korean economic history and preparing a monograph entitled, An Economic History of Korea, 1400 to 1900.
  • Translating and writing commentary on Amenomori Hôshû's Kôrin Teisei (1728).

Courses Taught:

  • Introduction to Korean and Japanese histories
  • Korean history through classical texts
  • Research methods for Korean history and Japanese history
  • Japanese history before 1868

Significant Publications:

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  • Korea and Globalization: Politics, Economy, and Culture, eds. JB Lewis and Amadu Sesay, London: RoutledgeCurzon press, 2002.
  • Frontier contact between Chosŏn Korea and Tokugawa Japan. London: RoutledgeCurzon Press, 2003.
  • 'The Trade with Japan and the Economy of Kyŏngsang Province,' and 'Guest Editor's Introduction' for theme issue on Korean trade with Japan in Acta Koreana, No. 7:1 (2004): 1-7; 47-68.
  • 'Accounting Techniques in Korea: 18th-century Archival Samples from a Non-Profit Association in the Sinitic World'. Co-authored with SH Jun. Accounting Historians Journals, Vol. 33, No. 1 (June, 2006): 53-87.
  • 'Wages, Rents, and Interest Rates in southern Korea, 1700 to 1900. Co-authored with SH Jun. Research in Economic History, University of California, No. 24 (2006):221-281.
  • 'Korean Expansion and Decline from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century: A View Suggested by Adam Smith'. Co-authored with S.H. Jun and H. R.  Kang. The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 68, No. 1 (March 2008): 244-282.
  • 'Stability or Decline? Demand or Supply?' Co-authored with S.H. Jun and H.R. Kang. The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 69, No. 4 (December 2009): 1143-1150.
  • ジェームス・B・ルイス (James B. Lewis). '1748 nen Chōsen Tsūshinshi setsu ni okeru keizai oyobi bunkateki sokumen (1748年朝鮮使節における経済及び文化的側面, Economic and Cultural Aspects of the 1748 Korean Embassy to Japan)' (in Japanese). In Gurōbaru jidai no Chōsen Tsūshinshi kenkyū (グローバル時代の朝鮮通信使研究), Matsubara Takatoshi (松原孝俊) et al. ed., Fukuoka: Hana shoin (福岡: 花書院), October 2010.
  • James B. Lewis. 'Munmyŏng ŭi kagyŏk?—17~19 segi Chosŏn ŭi Ilbon ŭro ŭi sajŏl ŭi yŏkhal kwa piyong「문명의 가격?—17~19세기 조선의 일본으로의 사절의 역할과 비용」(What Price Civilization?—Functions and Costs of Korean Embassies to Japan, seventeenth to nineteenth centuries)', Taedong Munhwa Yon'gu (대동문화연구, The Journal of Eastern Studies), Seoul: Taedong munhwa yŏn’guwŏn, Sŏnggyungwan taehakkyo, Tong Asia Haksulwŏn, 68 (2009): 43-80. (in Korean)
  • 'A Scroll of the 1748 Korean embassy to Japan preserved in the British Museum', Acta Koreana, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2010.6): 51-88.
  • 'The Tradition of Historical Writing in Korea, 400-1400'. Co-author with Remco Breuker and Grace Koh in Oxford History of Historical Writing, Volume II, edited by Chase Robinson and Sarah Foot. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • 'Toward an Anthropometric History of Chosŏn Dynasty Korea, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century'. Co-author with Seong Ho Jun and Daniel Schwenkendiek, The Journal of the Historical Society, 13:3 (9. 2013): 239-270.
  • 'Korean Double-Entry Merchant Accounts from Kaesŏng City (1786-1892)'. Co-author with Seong-Ho Jun and Sung-Kwan Huh. Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies, 13:2 (10.2013): 105-148. ISSN: 1598-2661.
  • The East Asian War, 1592-1598: International Relations, Violence, and Memory. Editor and contributor. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2015.
  • 'Korea by 1860' in Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean History, edited by Michael Seth. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2016.
  • 'The biological standard of living in pre-Modern Korea: Determinants of height of militia recruits during the Choson dynasty'. Economics and Human Biology 24 (2017): 104-110. Co-author with Seong Ho Jun and Daniel Schwekendiek.
  • Korea's Premier Collection of Classical literature: Selections from So Kojong's (1420-1488) Tongmunson. University of Hawai'i Press, March 2019. Co-translator and co-author with Xin Wei.

Further Info:

Public Lectures online:

Photograph of Jay Lewis