Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am happy to take on PhD students working on modern Japanese history with a focus on the 1960s and early 1970s, postwar Japanese media, nationalism, Japanese cinema and Japanese photography.

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Personal profile


Dr Chris Perkins completed a joint honours degree in Japanese Language and Contemporary Society with Education Studies at Oxford Brookes University in 2004, with one year spent at Kitakyushu University as an exchange student. After this he worked as a teacher at four schools in Gifu for two years before returning to complete an MSc (distinction) in International Relations at Royal Holloway University of London in 2007, where he went on to complete his PhD thesis entitled ‘National Thinking and the Politics of Belonging in Contemporary Japan’. He joined the University of Edinburgh as a lecturer in January 2011. His work has appeared in journals including The European Journal of Social Theory, Global Society, Television and New Media, The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, and Asiatische Studien, as well as in numerous edited collections. His book on media and memory of the left in Japan, The United Red Army on Screen, was published by Palgrave in 2015.

Dr Perkins was recognised for his teaching in the 2012/13 EUSA Teaching Awards, with his Japanese 2B winning "Best Course". He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research Interests

Dr Perkins' main research interests are in Japanese national identity and Japanese media. He is also interested in social and political theory (both Japanese and beyond), memory, international relations and borders.   

He serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies (

Research activity

My research falls into the following areas:

1. The pre and postwar Settlement Movement in Japan

In the 1880s, an Anglican clergyman and staff and students from Oxford University set up a ‘settlement house’ in the East End of London. Conceiving poverty as a moral problem, their goal was live with the poor to raise their cultural standards, and thus pull them out of the cycle of destitution. The idea soon spread to the United States, where settlement houses sprang up across the country.

That the settlement movement would travel across the Atlantic is no surprise: there was rich exchange between the UK and US in the late 19th century, and the values underpinning the movement – namely a particular protestant understanding of the relationship between morality and work – were shared. But what is perhaps less expected is that the settlement movement also travelled to Japan. Settlement theory was discussed at length in Japan in 1921 by Oobayashi Munetsugu, and was put into practice by students at Tokyo Imperial University in the wake of the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake. The movement then flourished for over a decade, before coming to an end in the late 1930s, only to restart again in the early postwar era.

But how was settlement theory and practice adapted to the Japanese context? What were its goals, methods, successes and failures? And what can this example tell us about the global circulation of ideas regarding social responsibility, the state, and welfare in the pre and postwar period?   

2.  Japan-Korea Relations in Popular Culture

This project looks at the cultural consititution of the relationship between South Korea and Japan, with a particular focus on literary and cinematic flows between the two nations at the time of normalisation of relations in 1965. 

3.  Pedagogy in East Asian Studies (with Dr Daniel R Hammond, University of Edinburgh)

This project investigates 'ways of thinking and practising' in East Asian Studies in order to understand variations in institutional cultures of East Asian Studies, and to enhance teaching practice.  Our initial investigation was funded by Edinburgh University's Principal's Teaching Award Scheme


I am happy to take on PhD students working on modern Japanese history with a focus on the 1960s and early 1970s, postwar Japanese media, nationalism, Japanese cinema and Japanese photography.


Postgraduate Teaching

  • ASST11075 State, Society and National Identity in Japan after 1989
  • ASST11084 East Asian International Relations
  • ASST11069 MSc Dissertation

As Undergraduate Course Organiser

  • ASST10127 Japanese Language 3 (Year Abroad)
  • ASST10131 Contemporary Japanese Cinema
  • ASST10112 Modern Japanese Society
  • ASST08007 Researching Japan
  • ASST08040 Thinking Through Japan
  • ASST10139 Radical Japan: Culture, Politics and Protest in Japan's Long 1960s

Other Undergraduate Teaching

  • ASST10134 Approaches to Translation from and into Japanese
  • ASST08042 Modern East Asian History A

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), National thinking and the politics of belonging in contemporary Japan: a constitutive constructivist approach, Royal Holloway, University of London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2011

Master of Social Science, Royal Holloway, University of London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2008

Bachelor of Arts, Oxford Brookes University

Award Date: 1 Jan 2004


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