Tel: 01223 335173
Professor of Japanese Studies and Head of Department
East Asian Stuies, University of Cambridge
Deputy Warden, Robinson College
I did my BA in Japanese and Korean at Oxford and then did a D.Phil. in 19th-century Japanese literature. I have spent about six years in Japan in total, mostly in Kyoto. I first taught Japanese at the University of Tasmania, in Australia, where I also acquired a taste for Australian wine and bushwalking in the Tasmanian Wilderness. After four years there, from 1978 to 1982, I became associate professor at the Humanities Research Institute of Kyoto University. From the beginning of 1985 I have been based in Cambridge.
For much of my career I have been studying the history of the book in Japan, in order to get a better idea of how ideas and literature circulated, how books were read and what factors determined their reception. I have published catalogues of the large collection of early Japanese books in Cambridge University Library and of various other collections in Manchester, Lille and Moscow; in 1989 I launched the Union Catalogue of Early Japanese Books in Europe project, which is now accessible on-line. In 1998 I published The book in Japan: a cultural history from the beginnings to the nineteenth century which explores a range of issues from censorship to lending libraries, and in 2010 I published a collection of essays on Japanese women readers in the Edo and Meiji periods, the fruit of collaboration with two former graduate students, Gaye Rowley (now teaching at Waseda University in Japan) and Mara Patessio (now teaching at Manchester University). In 2010 I became managing editor of a new journal which first appeared in 2011, East Asian Publishing and Society. My base in Cambridge is in Robinson College, where I am Deputy Warden and where we have a growing band of undergraduates studying East Asian Studies.
|1992||Japan Foundation Special Prize (with Hayashi Nozomu)|
|1993||Japan Festival Award (with Richard Bowring)|
|2000||Elected Fellow of the British Academy|
|2004||Elected Honorary Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford|
|2012||Member of Academia Europea|
|2013||Yamagata Banto prize|
History of the book in East Asia
Manuscripts in the age of print
Cultural translation in East Asia
I have been expanding my interests into other parts of East Asia and in every year since 2005 have spent some time in Korea and in Vietnam looking into strategies used to make Chinese texts more accessible to local readers. In this connection, I gave the Sandars Lectures in March 2008 on Chinese books in East Asia and the rise of the vernacular book, and am now working on an ambitious book on strategies for reading Chinese books in East Asia.
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