Current Activities

Individuality in Early Modern Japan
Thinking for Oneself

Individuality in Early Modern Japan: Thinking for Oneself

Values, Identity, and Equality in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Japan

Values, Identity, and Equality in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Japan    Values, Identity, and Equality in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Japan

Dissent on Core Beliefs: Religious and Secular Perspectives

Dissent on Core Beliefs

Research interests

I study the intellectual and social history of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Japan, with published work on Confucianism, nativism, popular culture, underground religious movements, and most recently public sphere.

Educational Background

Columbia University BA Oriental Studies 1971

University of Cambridge BA Japanese Studies 1973

University of Cambridge MA (honorary) 1977

Columbia University PhD Japanese Thought 1978

Major publications

(Trans.) Some Final Words of Advice (Saikaku oritome) by Ihara Saikaku (1642-93), (Rutland VT and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle, 1980).

(Ed.) Confucianism and Tokugawa Culture. Second (revised) edition (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.)

Remembering Paradise: Nativism and Nostalgia in 18th-Century Japan, Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1990).

(Ed.) Japanese Identity: Cultural Analyses (Denver: Center for Japan Studies [distributed by University of California Press], 1997).

Edo shakai to kokugaku: gengô e no kaiki, tr. William Steele, Kojima Yasunari, et al., (Tokyo: Perikansha, 1999)

(Co-guest editor with Mark R. Mullins) Special issue of Japanese Journal of Religious Studies (34:1) on the theme of Christians in Japan (2007).

Most recent Publications

 Nihon no Tokugawa jidai ni okeru shoki kindaisei: shudanteki aidentitei oyobi kojinshugi (“Early Modernity in Japan’s Tokugawa Period: Collective Identity and Individuality”), in 21 Seiki paradaimu shifuto—Nihon no kokoro to katachi no kensho to kozo, Tokyo: Toji Shobo 2007.

 “Buddhist Perspectives on the Globalization of Ethics,” Ch. 5 (pp. 75-92) in William M. Sullivan, ed., The Globalization of Ethics, Ethikon Series in Comparative Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press 2007)

 “Intellectual Change in Early Modern Japan,” Ch. 6  (pp. 101-116) in William Tsutsui, ed., Blackwell Companion to Japanese History (2007).

“The Experiences of Christians during the Underground Years and Thereafter,”  pp. 85-98 in The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 34:1 (2007)

“Confucian Perspectives on Poverty and Morality,” Ch. 6 (pp. 115-33) in Peter Hoffenberg and William Galston, eds., Poverty and Morality, Ethikon Series in Comparative Ethics, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010.

“The History of Confucianism in Japan,” Ch. 3 (pp. 53-66) in Wonsuk Chang and Leah Kalmanson, eds. Confucianism in Context: Classic Philosophy and Contemporary Issues, East Asian and Beyond, SUNY Press’ series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture, 2010.

I study the intellectual and social history of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Japan, with published work on Confucianism, nativism, popular culture, underground religious movements, and most recently public sphere.

Current research

Concentrates on the construction of individuality and individual identity during the early modern Tokugawa period.

Courses taught at UBC

Asia 100 Introduction to Traditional Asia
Asia 101 Introduction to Modern Asia
Asia 200 Cultural Foundations of East Asia
Asia 346 Topics in the Cultural History of Japan (II): The Early Modern Period
Asia 314 Japanese History to 1600
Asia 315 Japanese History 1600-1868
Asia 387 Japanese Religions
Asia 528 Problems in Japanese Intellectual History