Reo Matsuzaki, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, is an expert on colonialism and its legacies in East and Southeast Asia. In his recently published book, Statebuilding by Imposition: Resistance and Control in Colonial Taiwan and the Philippines (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019), he examines the role societal intermediaries play in the construction of modern states through a comparative analysis of Japanese colonization of Taiwan and the U.S. colonization of the Philippines. In his ongoing project, he seeks to identify the causal mechanisms that explain variation in the production of colonial legacies by examining why World War II and Japanese wartime occupation had such varying effects on the trajectory of postwar institutional development in Southeast Asia. In some instances, prewar political and administrative institutions quickly reestablished themselves after the Japanese interlude; in others, Japanese occupation served as a catalyst for fundamental institutional transformation in the postwar period. Broadly trained in the politics and history of Japan, Matsuzaki is also embarking on a new research project on populism and why it has been such a feeble political force in Japan in recent decades despite underlying institutional and ideational factors that should have been conductive to populism’s rise.

curriculum vitae


Ph.D., Mass. Institute of Technology (2011)

B.S., Georgetown Univ. (2003)