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 for 2014 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.

Applicants for the 2014 award should submit an electronic copy of their work with covering letter by 31 August 2014 to the Committee Chair, Dr Mats Karlsson, at: . In-press articles and book chapters that will bear the publication year of 2013 will be accepted with evidence.

Previous winners

  • 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.
  • 2008
    Dr Roman Rosenbaum, University of Sydney
    “The ‘Generation of the Burnt-out Ruins’”, article published in Japanese Studies, 2007.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 2011
    Dr Vera Mackie, University of Wollongong
    "Reading Lolita in Japan", chapter in Girl Reading Girl in Japan (London: Routledge, 2010)
  • 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).