Mr Andrew Capistrano

Mr Andrew Capistrano

PhD Student

Department of International History

About me

I originally hail from San Francisco, California. After receiving a BA in history from UC Berkeley, I moved to Tokyo to study the Japanese language and stayed for five years. In Japan I earned an MA in political science from Waseda University, served as a lecturer for the student seminar series at the US Embassy's American Center Japan, and worked as a researcher for the Asia Pacific Initiative (formerly RJIF, a Tokyo-based think tank), on projects related to the US-Japan alliance.


The Spirit of the Washington Conference: Britain, Japan, and the United States, 1921-26

My thesis, supervised by Dr Antony Best, examines the brief period of cooperation that followed the Washington Conference, a meeting of the major powers during the winter of 1921-22 (aimed at stabilizing relations in China and the Pacific). The Conference produced a number of pathbreaking treaties and agreements -- the so-called "Washington system" -- that interlocked with each other, purporting to establish a new international security and economic order. However, this system was unable to sustain long-term cooperation; all three powers eventually grew disillusioned and reverted to unilateral action. Scholars have therefore typically directed attention at the system's failure.

However, I argue that we need to better understand the incentives sustaining cooperation and/or checking unilateralism during 1922-26 in order to evaluate the breakdown that followed. Focusing on Anglo-American-Japanese relations, I look at a number of factors that affected strategic choice during the five years when the "Washington system" appeared to be self-enforcing. These included: the incentives generated by the Washington treaties themselves, the internationalist zeitgeist of the age, the strategic environment of the early-1920s international system, and the rapid domestic political and economic changes occurring almost simultaneously in all three nations -- as well as in China.


Expertise Details

International history: East Asia; 19th-20th centuries; international relations: security; institutions; political economy; game theory


• “Japan’s Changing Defense Posture and Security Relations in East Asia” (co-authored with Shuhei Kurizaki). The Korean Journal of International Studies 14:1 (2016), 77-104.

Conference papers

• “The Japan Factor in US-China Relations.” Presented at the Symposium on Sino-American Relations in the Next Administration, Nanjing University, Jiangsu, China, 14 November 2016.

• “Japan’s Changing Defense Posture and the Security Dilemma in East Asia” (with Shuhei Kurizaki). Presented at the 2016 Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA, 2 September 2016. (Panel: “Japan’s Security Challenges in a Changing World.”)

Awards and honours

• Japanese studies studentship, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (2017-18).

• Azusa Ono Memorial Scholarship for international students, Waseda University (2014-15).