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London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street

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in Sardinia House (SAR)

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Dr Antony Best

Associate Professor

Other Titles:Undergraduate Programme Director
Research Interests: Modern East Asian History; Modern Japan
Room: SAR.3.14
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7923

Dr Best studied for his undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds before moving to London where he studied for his PhD at the London School of Economics. He joined the LSE as a Lecturer in 1989.

Dr Best's main fields of research interests lie in Anglo-Japanese relations, the origins of the Pacific War; the international history of East Asia; the history of modern Japan, and intelligence and International history.

Dr Best is also the Department's PhD Programme Director.



Watch Dr Antony Best talk about the department's PhD programme:

- Why should students study at LSE?
- What are the benefits of studying in London?
- What does the department offer its students that other departments in the UK and around the world don’t offer?
- What skills does a history research degree provide students with?
- What opportunities are open to history graduates?
- Why did you want to study history?

Video recorded in May 2014 | All information accurate at time of recording

Read more about Dr Antony Best in our Meet our Historians: Introducing... feature.


Dr Best usually teaches the following courses:

At undergraduate level:

HY113: From Empire to Independence: The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century (jointly with other members of the Department)

HY116: International History since 1890 (jointly with other members of the Department)

HY235: Modernity and the State in East Asia: China, Japan and Korea since 1840

At Masters level:

HY461: East Asia in the Age of Imperialism, 1839-1945

Watch Dr Antony Best talk about his courses, how they are structured and how students can benefit from taking them in order to better understand the world we live in today.

HY113: From Empire to Independence

HY235: Modernity and the State in East Asia

HY461: East Asia in the Age of Imperialism, 1839 - 1945

Videos recorded in May 2015 | All information accurate at time of recording


Dr Best also supervises the following PhD students:

Research Student Provisional Thesis Title
Scott Gilfillan Convenient Imperialism: Britain and France in Tokugawa Japan, 1858-1869
Cornelis Heere The British Empire and the Challenge of Japan, 1904-1911

Dr Antony Best's publications include:

  • British Intelligence and the Japanese challenge in Asia, 1914-1941, (Palgrave: Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2002)
  • 'Economic Appeasement or Economic Nationalism?: a political perspective on the British Empire, Japan and the Rise of intra-Asian trade 1933-37,' Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol.30, no.2, (May 2002), pp.77-101
  • '"Our Respective Empires Should Stand Together": The Royal Dimension in Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1919-1941', Diplomacy and Statecraft, 2005, no.16, pp.259-79
  • Also as "Oshitsu-gaiko kara mita Nichi-Ei kankei 1919-1941", in Y.Ito & M.Kawata (eds.), Nijuseki Nihon no tenno to kunshusei-kokusaihikaku no shiten kara 1867-1952 [The Emperor and Monarchy in Twentieth Century Japan from an International Perspective] (Yoshikawa Kobunkan, Tokyo, 2004) 273-302
  • 'The Ghost of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance: A Study in Historical Mythmaking', Historical Journal, 2006
  • 'Senkanki higashi ajia ni okeru kokusai renmei: kokusai kyocho shugi, chiki shugi, nashonarizimu' [Internationalism, Regionalism and Nationalism in East Asia in the Inter-war Period] in Sadako Ogata & Asahiko Hanzawa (eds.), Guroubalu Govanansu no Rekishiteki Henyo; Kokuren to Kokusai Seijishi [Global Governance in Historical Perspectives; The United Nations and International History] (Minerva Publishing Co. Kyoto, 2007) pp.25-48.
  • 'The Birth of the League and the Death of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, 1918-1922', in A. Hanzawa & J. Yamaguchi (eds), Japan and the UN in International Politics - Historical Perspectives (Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 2007) pp.10-32.
  • 'A Royal Alliance: Court Diplomacy and Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1900-41' in H. Cortazzi, (ed.), Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits Vol.VI, (Global Oriental, Folkestone, 2007, pp. 63-70. (Also published in International Studies (LSE), 2006, IS/06/512, pp.19-30.)
  • '"Monko kaiho" ka, "seiryokuken" ka: senkanki no igirisu, nihon to chugoku mondai' ["Open Door" or "Sphere of Influence": Britain, Japan and South China in the Inter-war Period] in M. Matsuura (ed.), Showa Ajia shugi no jitsu-zō - Nihon no nanshin to Taiwan - Nanyō - Minami Shina [Showa and the Reality of Pan-Asianism - Japan's Southward Advance and Taiwan, the South Seas and South China], (Minerva, Kyoto, 2007) pp.126-47.
  • 'The Role of Diplomatic Practice and Court Protocol in Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1867-1900' in Markus Mosslang & Torsten Riotte (eds), The Diplomats' World: The Cultural History of Diplomacy, 1815-1914 (OUP, Oxford, 2008) pp.231-53.
  • '"We Are Virtually at War with Russia": Britain and the Soviet Menace in East Asia, 1923-40', Cold War History, 2012.
  • ‘The Leith-Ross Mission and British Policy towards East Asia, 1934-37’, International History Review, 2013.
  • ‘The British Empire’s Image of East Asia, 1900-41: Politics, Ideology, and International Order’, in Malcolm Murfett (ed.), Shaping British Foreign and Defence Policy in the Twentieth Century: A Tough Ask in Turbulent Times (Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2014) pp.21-40.
  • Daiei Teikoku no Shin-Nichi Ha: Kaisen ha Naze Sakerare Nakattaka [British Japanophiles: Why Could Britain and Japan Not Avoid War?] (Chuo Koron Shuppansha, Tokyo, 2015) [translated from the original English-language essays by Dr Tomoki Takeda]

He has also edited the following volumes:

Dr Best is a co-author of International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond (Routledge, 2004) [co-written with J. Hanhimaki, J. Maiolo and K.E. Schulze].

The main focus of his current research is a monograph which will deal with the role of race and monarchy in the shaping of the course of Anglo-Japanese relations in the period from 1854 to 1975. The book will study the way in which Japan was perceived by various groups in Britain such as the royal court, the political parties, the media, industrialists, the financial community, the labour movement and the church, and investigate to what degree domestic politics and perceptions influenced policy towards Japan.

Listen to Dr Best presenting a paper on Japan and the Cold War: An Overview (from 2009).

Full list of publications on LSE Research Online


Dr Antony Best in the Yomiuri Shimbun

Dr Antony Best was interviewed by the Japanese daily, the Yomiuri Shimbun, on 1 February 2016. In his interview, he talks about his recent book, Daiei Teikoku no Shin-Nichi Ha: Kaisen ha Naze Sakerare Nakattaka [British Japanophiles: Why Could Britain and Japan Not Avoid War?]. His book is translated from the original English-language essays by Dr Tomoki Takeda and came out in September 2015.


International History PhD Student, Supervised by Dr Antony Best, Wins Institute of Historical Research's Pollard Prize

Cees Heere, a PhD student at the Department, is this year’s recipient of the Institute of Historical Research’s Pollard Prize for the best paper given to one of the Institute’s research seminars by a doctoral student. As a result he will have his paper published in the IHR’s peer-reviewed journal Historical Research and be given books to the value of £200. Mr Heere’s paper, which is entitled ‘The Imperial Politics of Asian Immigration 1900-1914’, was presented to the International History seminar at the IHR, of which Dr Antony Best is one of the convenors, in January this year. This is also very pleasing news for Dr Antony Best, because Mr Heere is one of his PhD students.
International History of Twentieth Century and Beyond, 3rd Edition

The third edition of the hugely successful International History of Twentieth Century and Beyond was out in March 2015 with new updates and additions. The volume, co-authored by our lecturers, Dr Antony Best and Dr Kirsten Schulze, and former lecturers in our department, Professor Jussi M. Hanhimäki and Professor Joseph A. Maiolo, features several updates, namely, new material on the Arab Spring, including specific focus on Libya and Syria and increased debate on the question of US decline and the rise of China. The new edition also includes a new chapter on the international history of human rights and its advocacy organisations, including NGOs, and a timeline to give increased context to those studying the topic for the first time.

Read Professor Jussi M. Hanhimäki's interview about he new edition here.

Buy the book here.