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Dr Philip Garrett

Dr Philip Garrett

DEAS Research Associate, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies


I read for a BA in Japanese Studies at Oxford University, with periods of study at Kwansei Gakuin Daigaku and Osaka University of Foreign Studies. During my undergraduate studies I specialised in Japan's early history and classical literature, writing a dissertation on male roles in Heike Monogatari. For my M.St. at Oxford I concentrated on classical history, focusing on the wave of provincial discontent and rebellion which emerged in the 10th century and was epitomised by the rebellions of Taira no Masakado and Fujiwara no Sumitomo. I then moved to Cambridge to study for a PhD in Medieval Japanese History, investigating the relationship between the Shingon Buddhist temple complex Kōyasan and the monks and warriors of northern Kii Province. My thesis, Kōyasan's Local Domain: Provincial Monastic Power in Medieval Japan, draws in themes of social ritual and social control, banditry (akutō), land disputes (sōron), and the position of provincial warrior-managers in the temple and its estates. I currently teach for the EAS1 (East Asian History) course for Japanese and Chinese Studies.

I am currently collaborating with the research groups Timing Day and Night: Timescapes in premodern Japan, based in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, and QuakeRecNankai, a collaboration between the Geological Survey of Belgium, the Universities of Tokyo, Ghent, Liège, and Cologne, and AIST.

Subject groups/Research projects

Japanese Studies:

Research Interests

Monastic social and economic power in Japan, provincial history and centre-periphery interaction, crime and peacekeeping in the classical and medieval periods, sōron (land disputes), shōen and their managers (shōkan), cultivators and hyakushō mōshijō (petitions), akutō (banditry), kishōmon (vows), kanbun, maps and historical geography.

Other Professional Activities

I supervise and lecture for the East Asian History course (EAS1) in the Department of East Asian Studies, FAMES, primarily covering Buddhism in East Asia, Ancient and Medieval Japan, and Meiji Japan.

Conference papers:

"As Below, so Above: the institutional organisation of Kōyasan and estate society in the medieval period" at the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) Annual Conference, Sept. 2015, SOAS. (forthcoming)

“Arson, Murder and Lawsuits: border disputes and community conflict in medieval Kii” at the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) Annual Conference, Sept. 2012, UEA.

“Crime on the Estates: Monastic Authority in Medieval Japan” at International Medieval Congress 2012, University of Leeds

“Arson, Murder and Lawsuits” at Reassessing the Shōen System: Society and Economy in Medieval Japan (2012), University of Southern California. To be published as a chapter in the forthcoming book.

Key Publications


“Bad Neighbours and Monastic Influence: Border Disputes in Medieval Kii.” In Reassessing the Shōen System: Society and Economy in Medieval Japan, edited by Joan Piggott and Jan Goodwin. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 2015.


“Crime on the Estates: Justice and Politics in the Kōyasan Domain.” In The Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 41 No. 1, Winter 2015.

"Holy Vows and Realpolitik - Preliminary notes on Kōyasan's early medieval kishōmon." In e-Journal of East and Central Asian Religions, Vol. 1 (December, 2013). Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, 2013.

"Matsuo Bashō no haiku eiyaku senshū – haiku no eiyaku ni kan suru shiken." In Nihongo Nihonbunka kenshū ryūgakusei shūryō ronbun shū, Vol. 9. Osaka: Osaka University of Foreign Studies Press, 2007.