Danny Orbach

Postdoctoral Fellow, Program on US-Japan Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University and a senior lecturer for history and East Asian Studies, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem




Harvard University, Cambridge MA

PhD in history (modern Japan)

Dissertation: “Culture of Disobedience: Rebellion and Defiance in the Modern Japanese Army, 1860-1931”. Advisors: Professors Andrew D. Gordon, David L. Howell, Niall Ferguson, Cathal J. Nolan


Tokyo University – Monbusho scholarship research student, 2007-9


Tel Aviv University – BA, summa cum laude, General History and East Asian Studies, 2006


Research Interests


Modern Japanese History

Modern Chinese History

Military History

History of Counterinsurgency

History of Disobedience

Dynamics of Atrocities in Wartime







Curse on this Country: Japanese Military Insubordination and the Origins of the Pacific War (Cornell University Press, forthcoming in spring 2017)

The Plots against Hitler (New York: Houghton Mifflin, Eamon Dolan Books – forthcoming October 2016)

——————- Uccidere Hitler (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri – forthcoming September 2016)

——————- Valkyrie – New expanded edition (Yedioth Ahronot Press – forthcoming October 2016)


Valkyrie – Ha-Hitnagdut ha-Germanit le-Hitler (Valkyrie: German Resistance to Hitler), (in Hebrew), Tel Aviv: Yedioth Ahronot Press, 2009.






Articles and Book Chapters



“Imperialism through the Mirror: Japan in the Eyes of the SS and the German Conservative Resistance”, in Sven Saaler. ed., Mutual Perceptions in German-Japanese Relations: Images, Imaginings and Stereotypes (forthcoming)


“The Other Prussia – General von Tresckow, Resistance to Hitler and the Nature of Charisma”, Tel Aviver Jahrbūcher fūr deutsche Geschichte (forthcoming, October 2016)


“‘By not stopping’: The First Taiwan Expedition (1874) and the Roots of Japanese Military Disobedience”, The Journal of Japanese Studies 42: 1 (Winter 2016), pp.29-55.


“The Kyūjō Incident: A Night-time Coup in Tokyo”, in David Chandler, Robert Cribb, and Li Narangoa, eds., End of History: 100 Days that changed the World (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2015).


(With Mark Solonin), “Calculated Indifference: The Soviet Union and the Plan to Bomb Auschwitz”, Holocaust and Genocide Studies 27 (2013), pp.90-113.


“Black Flag at a Crossroads: the Political Trial of Kafr-Qasim (1956-8): Dynamics and Consequences”, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 45 (2013), pp.491-511.


“Tyrannicide in Radical Islam: Sayyid Qutb and Abd A-Salam Faraj”, Middle Eastern Studies (November 2012), pp. 961-972.


“A Japanese Prophet – Eschatology and Epistemology in the Thought of Kita Ikki, Japan Forum 23:3, 2011, pp.339-361.


“Criticism Reconsidered: The German Resistance to Hitler in Critical German Scholarship”, Journal of Military History 75:2 (April, 2011), pp.1-26.


“Japan through SS Eyes: Cultural Dialogue and Instrumentalization of a Wartime Ally”, European Studies Vol. 7 (March, 2008), pp.115-131.


Peer reviewed translations of the above:


“Japan mit der Augen der SS gesehen” (Vorwort and Deutsche Übersetzung von Harald Kleinschmidt) (Japan seen with the Eyes of the SS: Foreword and German translation by Harald Kleinschmidt), (in German), OAG Notizen (May, 2008), pp.12-31.


“Hidat Hacoah Hademoni – Tadmiyot Yapaniyot Baraich Hashlishi – Dialog Tarbuti ve Instrumentalizatsia” (The Riddle of Demonic Power: Japanese Images in the Third Reich: Cultural Dialogue and Instrumentalization), (in Hebrew) Historia – Journal of the Israeli Historical Society, vol.22 (Autumn 2008), pp.29-73.


“Mitsvat Lo Tirzah Be-mered Ha-Taiping: Teologia ve-Yisuma Halacha Le-Ma’ase” (‘Thou Shalt not Kill’ in the Taiping Rebellion: Theology and Practice), (in Hebrew) Zmanim, vol.104 (Autumn 2008), pp.90-105.


“Ha-Zamir ve-ha-Lotus – Jalal A-Din A-Rumi ve-ha-Buddhism” (The Nightingale and the Lotus – Jalal Al-Din Al-Rumi and Chinese Buddhist Thought), (in Hebrew) Jamaa 16, 2007, pp.63-83.


“Fata Morgana o Re’i Akum: Historionim ve-ha-Hitnagdut ha-Germanit le-Hitler” (Fata Morgana or a Crooked Mirror: ‘Critical’ German Historians and the German Resistance to Hitler), (in Hebrew), Zmanim (Summer 2005), pp.-84-95.


“The Israeli Translation Controversy – what about and where to” (with contributions by Yuval Wellis and Yuval Kfir), in Thomas Honneger, ed., Tolkien in Translation: Text and Film (Zurich: Walking Tree Publishers, 2004), pp.53-66.        


Invited Academic Broadcasts


“Cultures of Disobedience: Assassinations and Rebellions in the Imperial Japanese Army”, Harvard Horizons Symposium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1Qm0_N5egI

“The Anti-Nazi Coups that Failed, 1938 and 1944: Did They Have a Chance?”, Military History Series, Boston University, 3 March 2011. Broadcasted in WBUR, Boston’s NPR: http://worldofideas.wbur.org/2011/03/20/anti-nazi-coups


Fellowships and Awards


Harvard Horizons Scholar, 2014. A special program of Harvard University, in which eight students from different disciplines are being selected annually to presented their projects to a larger audience.

Harvard University, Derek Bok Center Distinction in Teaching, 2014 and 2012

External Fellow, International History Institute, Boston University (2012 to present)

Japan Foundation Research Fellow, 2012 -13

Graduate Student Associate, Davis Center for Russian and European Studies, Harvard University, 2010-11

Yaavetz’s Award for outstanding students, History Department, Tel Aviv University, 2006

Wolf Foundation Award for outstanding students, 2006

Japanese Education Ministry (Monbusho) scholarship for research students, 2006

Rector’s Award for academic excellence, Tel Aviv University, 2005

Bosh Foundation Award for Jewish studies, 2004


General Examination Fields


Modern Japanese History (Meiji to the end of WWII), Early Modern Japanese History (Tokugawa to Meiji), Modern and Early Modern Chinese History (Qing Dynasty and modern China up to the Cultural Revolution), Military History (1600 to the present)


Position Papers


“General Hans Oster, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Dr. Hans von Dohnanyi and their efforts to save Jewish lives during the Second World War”: A research for the Righteous among the Nations Committee, Yad Vashem Holocaust Research institute, Jeruslaem. This research led to the endowment of the title “righteous among the nations” to Dr. Hans von Dohnanyi


Conference Papers


“Reemergence of the Samurai: The New Wave of Political Violence in Japan’s ‘Postwar'”, presented at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting, January 2, 2014, Washinton DC.


“Networks of Fencing: Anatomy of Conspiratorial Networks in Bakumatsu Japan (1853-1868)”, presented at the Israeli Graduate Students Conference in East Asian Studies, 4 June, 2012, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv.


“Colonialism through the Mirror: Japan in the Eyes of the SS and the National Conservative German Resistance”, presented at ICAS Conference, 25 June, 2013, Macau, China, and the

OAG International Symposium, “Mutual Perceptions in Japanese-German Relations: Images, Imaginings and Stereotypes”, 10 December, 2010, OAG House, Tokyo, Japan.


“The German Resistance Movement and the Holocaust: A Reassessment”, presented at Yad Vashem Guest Research Seminar, 26 November, 2009, Jerusalem, Israel.


“The Reception of the German Resistance in Israel: Hans von Dohnanyi as a Case Study”, presented at the German Studies Association Annual Conference, 9 October, 2004, Washington DC.


Teaching Experience


Harvard University, Program in General Education, Cambridge MA

Teaching Fellow, “Political Justice and Political Trials” (Professor Charles S. Maier), Spring 2014.

  • Taught two sections, graded papers and exams.


Harvard University, Program in General Education, Cambridge MA

Teaching Fellow, “History of American Democracy” (Professor David A. Moss), Fall 2013.

  • Advised students, graded papers and exams.


Harvard University, Department of History, Cambridge MA

Teaching Fellow, “20th Century Japan” (Professor Andrew D. Gordon), Spring 2013.

  • Taught one section, graded papers and exams.


Harvard University, Program in General Education, Cambridge MA

Teaching Fellow, “Western Ascendancy: the Mainsprings of Global Power from 1400 to the Present” (Professor Niall Ferguson), Fall 2012.


Research Experience


Harvard University, Department of History, Cambridge MA

Research Assistant to Professor Andrew D. Gordon and Prof. Erez Manela in the preparation of the course “Forced to be Free: Americans and Occupiers and Nation Builders”, Spring 2013.




Hebrew: native.

Japanese: six years of Modern Japanese, fluent in reading and speaking. One year of Classical Japanese, including 19t century texts and early Meiji language.

German: fluent in reading, experience of 11 years in translation and research.

Chinese: 4 years of modern Chinese.

Russian: one year and a half of modern Russian.

Arabic: intensive military course of modern and classical Arabic. Higher-intermediate speaking and ability to use original sources for research.

Persian: intermediate speaking and ability to use modern Persian sources for original research.