Speaker profiles

Opening address speaker

Prof Yoshio Sugimoto

Emeritus Professor Yoshio Sugimoto

Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University

Yoshio Sugimoto grew up in Kyoto and graduated from Kyoto University. After working for a few years as a staff writer for The Mainichi Shimbun, a Japanese national daily, he pursued postgraduate studies in the United States and achieved his PhD in sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.

After moving to Melbourne, Australia, Professor Sugimoto taught and researched in La Trobe University's sociology department for more than three decades. During this period, he wrote many books and articles on Japanese society, focusing on cultural diversity and class competition, and played a significant role in promoting a paradigm shift in Japanese studies from monocultural to multicultural models. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities since 1988, he continues to work on social stratification, civil society and ideology formation in contemporary Japan. His book, An Introduction to Japanese Society (Cambridge University Press), entered its fourth edition in 2014.

In the 1980s, Professor Sugimoto was instrumental in establishing the Japanese Studies Centre at Monash University and served as its Foundation Director. In 2000, he set up Trans Pacific Press, a publishing house that specializes in English versions of Japanese social scientists' books, and has been involved in the production of more than one hundred titles.

Find out more about Yoshio.


Keynote speakers

Professor BU Ping

Director of the Institute of Modern History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, PRC.

BU Ping is a Professor at the Institute of Modern History in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). He has served as the Deputy Director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences (1992-2004), and the Director of the Institute of Modern History, CASS (2004-2012). He is currently the Director of the Scholarship Committee of the Institute of Modern History, and the President of the China Society for the Study of the Anti-Japanese War. Professor Bu is also the Chinese coordinator for a project which jointly compiled history textbooks by scholars from China, Japan and South Korea, and the head of a Chinese committee a on a joint historical research by the Chinese and Japanese governments. These collaborations have produced books in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, including『未来を開く歴史』(日中韓共通歴史教材委員会、高文研、2005)[History that opens to the future] and『新しい東アジアの近現代史』上下(日中韓3国共同歴史編纂委員会編、日本評論社、2012)[A new modern history of East Asia].

Professor Bu's main publications in Japanese include: 『日本の中国侵略と毒ガス兵器』(明石書店、1995)[Japan's invasion of China and toxic gas weapons]; 『若者に伝えたい中国の歴史』(明石書店、2008) [A history of China for young people].『中日関係史1978−2008』(2008、東京大学出版)[China-Japan relations 1978-2008]. His Chinese language publications include: 『第二次世界大战期间日本的化学战』(中国社会科学文献出版社、2003年)[Chemical warfare committed by the Japanese Army during World War II],『超越战后—战后日本的历史认识』[Transcending the post-war era: Japan's recognition of its wartime responsibility](中国社会科学文献出版社、2012年)、『跨越国境的东亚近现代史』(中国社会科学文献出版社、2012年)[A modern history of East Asia: Beyond the border]

Find out more about BU Ping.

View the Institute of Modern History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences homepage.


Professor Eiji OGUMA 

Graduate School of Media and Governance / Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.

Eiji OGUMA is a Professor of Sociology, in the Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan. His historical sociology research explores national identity and nationalism, colonial policy, democracy and social movements, and politico-economic structure. His works have received six awards in Japan: the Suntory Gakugei Prize for 『単一民族神話の起源—<日本人>の自画像の系譜』(1995, 新曜社)[Origin of the myth of the homogenous nation: A genealogy of "Japanese" self-images] ; the Japan Society of Sociology Prize, the Mainichi Suppan Bunka Prize and the Asahi Newspaper's Ohragi Jirô Rondan Prize for 『<民主>と<愛国>:戦後日本のナショナリズムと公共性』 (2002, 新曜社) [Democracy and patriotism: Post-war Japan's nationalism and the public]; Shinsho Award for 『社会を変えるには』(2012, 講談社) [In order to change our society], and the Kadokawa Zaidai Gakugei Prize for 『1968 』( 全2巻、2009, 新曜社).

His major publications in English include: the Boundaries of "Japanese" vol 1. :Okinawa 1868-1972 (2014, Trans Pacific Press, Melbourne) [Translation of『<日本人>の境界—沖縄、アイヌ、台湾、朝鮮:植民地支配から復帰運動まで』(1998,新曜社)]; "The Hidden Face of Disaster: 3.11, the Historical Structure and Future of Japan's Northeast," The Asia-Pacific Journal, volume 9, issue 31, no 6; August 1, 2011; A Genealogy of Japanese Self-Images,  (2002, Trans Pacific Press, Melbourne).  [Translation of 『単一民族神話の起源—<日本人>の自画像の系譜』].

Find out more about Oguma.

Oguma also plays in a band called Quikion.


Professor Polly SZATROWSKI

University of Minnesota– Institute of Linguistics, USA

Polly Szatrowski is Professor of Japanese Language and Linguistics in the Institute of Linguistics at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the interactive construction of talk through language, gesture and body movements in videotapes of spontaneous conversations in natural settings. She is concerned with language and culture, cross-linguistic strategies and the emergence of grammar in discourse, and is currently investigating the relation between language and food, in particular the multimodal, multiparty construction of assessments and identification sequences in conversations over food.

Her publications include 『日本語の談話の構造分析――勧誘の談話のストラテジーの考察』(Structure of Japanese conversation- Invitation strategies) (Kurosio, 1991), 3 edited volumes Hidden and open conflict in Japanese conversational interaction (Kurosio, 2004). Storytelling across Japanese conversational genre (John Benjamins, 2010) and Language and food: Verbal and nonverbal experiences (John Benjamins, 2014), and over 60 papers and book chapters in English and Japanese.

Find out more about her book Language and food.


Professor THANG Leng Leng

Department of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Leng Leng THANG is currently Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Japanese Studies at the National University of Singapore (from July 2015, and previously from Jan 2005–Dec 2010). She is also an active founding member on the steering committee of the Japanese Studies Association in Southeast Asia (JSA-ASEAN) established in 2005.  

Leng Leng is an anthropologist with a focus on Japan. Her research interest spans across aging, intergenerational programming, intergenerational relationships, gender, family and migration. She is the author of Generations in touch: Linking the old and young in a Tokyo neighborhood (Cornell University, 2001) and more recently a co-editor of Experiencing Grandparenthood: An Asian perspective (Springer, 2012). Her other recent publications include co-authored works on Japanese mature women in Western Australia, Japanese retirees in Southeast Asia, and Japanese brides in Bali (co-author with Mika Toyota). In 2005, she was awarded Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Foundation Education Award for her contribution to teaching and research in Japanese Studies in Singapore. She graduated with a PhD in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Find out more about Leng Leng.