Abstract. We examine the roles of fast and slow responses in shaping the total equilibrium response of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) to reflecting (sulfate, SO4) and absorbing (black carbon, BC) aerosol forcings over the industrial era using the Community Earth System Model version 1. Our results show that there is a clear distinction between fast and slow responses of the EASM to aerosol forcings and the slow climate response due to aerosol-induced change in sea surface temperature plays an important role in the impacts of aerosols on the EASM. The EASM is weakened by a decrease in land-sea surface thermal contrast in the fast response component to SO4 forcing, whereas the weakening is more intensive by the changes in tropospheric thermodynamic and dynamic structures in the slow response component to SO4. The total climate adjustment caused by SO4 is a significant weakening of the EASM and a decrease in precipitation. The BC-induced fast adjustment strengthens the EASM both by increasing the local surface land-sea thermal contrast and shifting the East Asian subtropical jet northwards. BC-induced slow climate adjustment, however, weakens the EASM through altering the atmospheric temperature and circulation. Consequently, the EASM is enhanced north of 30N but slightly reduced south of 30N in the total response to BC. The spatial patterns of precipitation change over East Asia due to BC are similar in total response and slow response. This study highlights the importance of ocean response to aerosol forcings in driving the changes of the EASM.