Research Strengths

Reflecting the Department’s standing as one the world’s largest programs wholly dedicated to Japanese studies, scholars in the Department of Japanese Studies encompass a wide variety of research interests. These span the humanities and social science disciplines, and time periods ranging from the ancient to contemporary. Faculty members presently are engaged in major collaborative research projects working with scholars on campus, at other Australian universities, and internationally. “War, Wounds, and Healing: Pacific Basin Postwar Reconciliation” and “Manga and Historiography” are two ongoing representative projects. To learn more about current research projects please visit the academic profiles of our faculty members found on the Department’s online academic staff page.

Research strengths in the Department of Japanese Studies:

  • The interconnections of modern Japanese social, cultural, and political history
  • Japanese premodern intellectual history and political philosophy
  • Pop and media culture and the literature-anime nexus
  • Modern Japanese poetry, comparative literature, and Australian literature
  • Modern and contemporary Japanese fiction and literary theory
  • Japanese cinema and mass culture
  • Japanese popular culture
  • Japanese and East Asian media, the government, media industry, and audience nexus
  • Japanese sociolinguistics and linguistics; complex verb constructions and transitivity in Asian languages
  • Japanese language and pedagogy
  • Chinese communities in Australia and Japan and linkages with the Chinese homeland
  • Comparative study of Asian societies; class, gender, ethnicity, community and globalization in Asian societies
  • Premodern Japanese urban history
  • Early temple and residential architecture
  • Spatial theory: “Spatial-Structural History”
  • Japan-Korea relations, historical and contemporary
  • Postcolonial studies and cross-cultural representations

The Inoue Yasushi Award

The Inoue Yasushi Award for Outstanding Research in Japanese Literature has been awarded annually, beginning in 2007, for the best refereed journal article or book chapter published in English by a researcher based in Australia or New Zealand during the previous year. The recipient will receive $1500 and a certificate of award.

Inoue Yasushi was a prominent post-Second World War novelist and poet. He wrote in many genres ranging from contemporary novels focusing on social problems to historical novels. He was a unique writer who managed to combine serious themes with fascinating and intriguing plots. Inoue’s works are still very popular, reaching a wide general readership as well as scholars and intellectuals. The Inoue Yasushi Memorial Foundation established the award in order to encourage Australian interest in Japanese literature generally, and in Inoue Yasushi more particularly. The Foundation also generously donated 28 volumes of Inoue Yasushi’s collected works, which can be found in the East Asian Collection of Fisher Library at the University of Sydney.

How to apply

  • Deadline: 15 August 2015
  • Submit an electronic copy of your work with a covering letter to the Committee Chair, Dr Mats Karlsson: email
  • In-press articles and book chapters that will bear the publication year of 2014 will be accepted with evidence.

2014 winner

  • Dr Rebecca Suter University of Sydney
    “Grand Demons and Little Devils: Akutagawa’s Kirishitan mono as a Mirror of Modernity”, article published in Journal of Japanese Studies in 2013 (volume 39, no 1).

Previous winners

  • 2013 Dr Helen Kilpatrick University of Wollongong
    "Envisioning the Shōjo Aesthetic in Illustrations of Miyazawa Kenji’s Literature", article published in PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies in 2012 (volume 9, no 3).
  • 2012 Associate Professor Edwina Palmer Victoria University of Wellington
    "A poem to carp about? Poem 16-3828 of the Man’yōshū collection", article published in the Bulletin of School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 2011 (volume 74, no 3).
  • 2011 Dr Vera Mackie University of Wollongong
    "Reading Lolita in Japan", chapter in Girl Reading Girl in Japan (London: Routledge, 2010)
  • 2010 Dr Mats Karlsson University of Sydney
    “Writing Madness: Deranged Impressions in Akutagawa’s Cogwheels and Strindberg’s Inferno”, article published in Comparative Literature Studies in 2009 (volume 46, no 4).
  • 2009 Dr Ian McArthur University of Sydney
    “Narrating the Law in Japan: Rakugo in the Meiji Law Reform Debate,” article published in the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies.
  • 2008 Dr Roman Rosenbaum University of Sydney
    “The ‘Generation of the Burnt-out Ruins’”, article published in Japanese Studies, 2007.
  • 2007 Inaugural prize: Dr Tomoko Aoyama University of Queensland
    “Appropriating Bush Tucker: Food in Inoue Hisashi’s Yellow Rats”, article published in the Journal of Australian Studies, 2006.