Japan Forum

Japan Forum is the official journal of the British Association for Japanese Studies. Its primary objective is to publish original research in the field of Japanese Studies, making available scholarship on Japan to an international readership of specialists and non-specialists. From 1996 Japan Forum has been published by Taylor and Francis, a major publisher in the area of Japanese Studies.

Japan Forum is multidisciplinary, publishing contributions from across the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences. Articles range from archaeology, language, literature, philosophy and culture to history, economics, politics, international relations and law. Submissions from younger researchers as well as from established scholars are welcome, as are submissions that cross disciplinary boundaries or do not otherwise match the subject areas listed above. All submissions are independently refereed.

Notes for contributors and submission instructions are available on the Taylor and Francis website.

Japan Forum is included in the Thomson Reuters Emerging Sources Citation Index.

What is the Emerging Sources Citation Index?
The Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) is an additional Web of Science database launched by Thomson Reuters in autumn 2015. At launch it contained around 3,000 titles and will continue to grow in the future. Indexing in the ESCI is identical to the other core databases in Web of Science, but journals will not receive an Impact Factor. However this will increase the discoverability of content and allow us to conduct more in-depth citation analysis on journals included in the database.

Thomson describe this as extending the universe of publications in Web of Science to include high-quality, peer-reviewed publications of regional importance and in emerging scientific fields. The database will currently be offered free to existing Web of Science subscribers
What are the requirements for indexing?
•        Must be peer reviewed,
•        follow ethical publishing practices,
•        meet technical requirements,
•        have English language bibliographic information
•        be recommended or requested by a scholarly audience of Web of Science users.
All journals submitted for evaluation to the core Web of Science databases (the Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Science Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index) will now initially be evaluated for the ESCI, and if successful, indexed in the ESCI while undergoing the more in-depth editorial review.

What are the benefits?
Indexing in the ESCI will improve the visibility of a journal, provides a mark of quality and is good for authors. We have already seen examples of institutions and funders suggesting publication in an ESCI listed journal, similar to what already takes places with other Web of Science databases.


Japan Forum Podcasts

Japan Forum Podcasts can be found here:  and here:

Podcast 1: Harry Harootunian, Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies, New York University, and Max Palevsky Professor of History and Civilizations, Emeritus, University of Chicago, who was visiting the UK to give the 15th Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture at the University of Warwick. Japan Forum caught up with Professor Harootunian at SOAS to discuss his recently published Uneven Moments: Reflections of on Japan’s Modern History. Although the book is a collection of essays written by Harootunian over the span of thirty years, it has a thematic cohesiveness that covers the historical space of the “expansion of capitalism” from the mid-nineteenth century to early twenty-first century. The podcast covers the importance of the Meiji Restoration, the place of Japanese modern intellectual history beyond the borders of the Japanese nation state, and how the unevenness and incompletion of capitalist modernity shapes the relationship between culture and politics.

Podcast 2 : Miki Dezaki, Director of Shusenjo: The Main Battleground Of Comfort Women
Japan Forum caught up with Miki Dezaki at the University of Central Lancashire to talk to him about his documentary Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort. The documentary is rare in that it attempts to de-dramaticize the issue rather than ratchet up emotions. In the podcast Mr Dezaki talks about what motivated him to make the documentary; the difficulties faced when talking about controversial topics in a public forum in Japan; the reaction to the documentary both within Japan and abroad; and the lawsuits he is facing trying to prevent the wider distribution of the documentary within Japan.

Podcast 3: Justin Jesty - Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan 
Japan Forum's Laurence Green caught up with Justin Jesty at SOAS, University of London to talk about his book Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan, which investigates the  relationship between art, society and politics in early post-war Japan. In the podcast, Jesty talks about the motivation behind the project; the crucial significance of small scale galleries and regional groups in supporting art at a local level in Japan; and  the efforts of filmmaker Hani Susumu and the Society for Creative Aesthetic Education to link child inspired creative expression and education in order to place the child at the centre of their own learning.

Podcast 4: Oleg Benesch - Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace, co-authored with Ran Zwigenberg. In the podcast Dr Benesch talks about what motivated him to write a non-military history of Japanese castles; collaborating with someone who lives in a different country and timezone; the meaning of modernity; the ambiguous relationship between history and heritage; and why issues of “space” matter.

Podcast 5:  Patrick W. Galbraith - Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan. Japan Forum's Laurence Green caught up with Patrick Galbraith via Skype to talk about his new book Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan, which investigates everything from computer games and anime to manga and maid cafes in an effort to better understand the phenomenon of the ‘otaku’ in contemporary Japan. In the podcast, Patrick talks about how the book draws on ten years of research immersed in the depths of Tokyo’s Akihabara district and the various kinds of pop-cultural fandom to be found there. Going deep into the complexities and history of the term ‘otaku’, he unpicks the tensions within the wider discourse surrounding ‘otaku’ and the way this invariably intersects with notions of gender, sexuality, and the way these identities fit into both Japanese society, and the wider world.

Podcast 6:  Franz Prichard - Residual Futures. Japan Forum caught up with Franz Prichard to talk about his new book Residual Futures: The Urban Ecologies of Literary and Visual Media of 1960s and 1979s Japan. In the podcast Dr Prichard talks about the Cold War, Japan's urban makeover, and the synchronic transformation in the mental, the social, and environmental ecologies. But it is not all heavy going. Along the way he talks about the enchantment of Nakahira Takuma’s photography, the topological readings of Maeda Ai and Abe Kōbō, and a forgotten documentary gem by Tsuchimoto Noriaki, a director closely associated with his oeuvre on Minamata disease.


Japan Forum prize - The Ian Nish Prize

Awarded by the British Association for Japanese Studies. Professor Ian Hill Nish CBE is Professor Emeritus of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science where he served from 1962 to 1991. His main fields of interest and research are Japan's foreign relations and in particular Japan-China relations over the twentieth century.

This prize was launched in 2001 as the Daiwa Japan Forum prize and is awarded for the best article submitted to Japan Forum during the year by an early career scholar. The prize consists of £400 and a one-year membership to BAJS.

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 Ian Nish Prize was won by Mark Player for his article  “UtoPia: An early history of Pia and its role in Japan's 'self-made' film culture”.


Previous Winners:


Kumiko Endo (2019) "Singlehood in ‘precarious Japan’: examining new gender tropes and inter-gender communication in a culture of uncertainty", Japan Forum, 31(2): 165-186.


Christopher Smith (2017) 'Who said that? Textuality in eighteenth century kibyōshi', Japan Forum, 29(2): 279-298.


Thomas Baudinette (2016) ‘Ethnosexual frontiers in queer Tokyo: the production of racialised desire in Japan’, Japan Forum, 28(4): 465-485.

Erin l. Brightwell (2015) 'Refracted axis: Kitayama Jun'yū and writing a German Japan', Japan Forum, 27(4): 431-453.


Josh Petitto (2014) 'The Meiji oceanic imaginary and the paintings of Aoki Shigeru', Japan Forum, 25(4): 458-484.


Tin Tin Htun (2012) 'Social identities of minority others in Japan: listening to the narratives of Ainu, Buraku and Zainichi Koreans', Japan Forum, 24(1): 1-22.


Tuukka Toivonen (2011) 'Don't let your child become a NEET!' The strategic foundations of a Japanese youth scare', Japan Forum, 23(3): 407-429.


Scot Hislop (2010) 'The pedagogical value of tsukinami haikai: learning cultural associations', Japan Forum, 22(3-4): 263-280.


Ryan Holmberg (2009) 'Hear no, speak no: Sasaki Maki manga and nansensu, circa 1970', Japan Forum, 21(1): 115-141.


Ekaterina Hertog (2008) 'The Worst Abuse against a Child is Absence of a Parent: How Unwed Mothers Evaluate their Decision to Have a Child outside Wedlock', Japan Forum, 20 (2): 193-217.


Robert Tierney (2007) 'Ethnography, Borders, and Violence: Reading Between the Lines in Sato Haruo's Demon Bird', Japan Forum, 19 (1): 89-110.


Simon Avenell (2006) 'Regional Egoism as the Public Good: Residents' Movements in Japan During the 1960s and 1970s', Japan Forum, 18 (1): 89-113.


Philip Seaton (2005) 'Reporting the 2001 Textbook and Yasukuni Shrine Controversies: Japanese War Memory and Commemoration in the British Media', Japan Forum, 17 (3): 287-309.


Michael Fisch (2004) 'In Search of the Real: Technology, Shock and Language in Murakami Haruki's Sputnik Sweetheart', Japan Forum, 16 (2): 363-81.


Mikiko Ashikari (2003) 'The Memory of the Women's White Faces: Japaneseness and the Ideal Image of Women', Japan Forum, 15 (1): 55-79.

2003 Christopher Jones (2002) 'Politicizing Travel and Climatizing Philosophy: Watsuji, Montesquieu and the European tour', Japan Forum, 14 (1): 41-62.

Charles Weathers (2001) 'The Last Gasp of Labor's Dual Strategy? Japan's 1997 ', Japan Forum, 13 (2): 215-32.


David Rosenfeld (2000) 'Counter-Orientalism and Textual Play in Akutagawa's 'The Ball', Japan Forum, 12 (1): 53-64.



The Toshiba International Foundation prize

Awarded by the British Association for Japanese Studies and The Toshiba International Foundation.

This prize ran from 2002 to 2011 and was awarded for the best article submitted to Japan Forum during the year.


2011 David Leheny (2010) Terrorism risks and counterterrorism costs in post-9/11 Japan, Japan Forum, 22(1-2): 219-237.
2010 Aurelia George Mulgan (2009) The perils of Japanese politics, Japan Forum, 21(2): 183-207.
2009 Michael Bourdaghs (2008) Property and Sociological Knowledge: Natsume Soseki and the Gift of Narrative, Japan Forum, 20 (1): 79-101.
2008 Rachael Hutchinson (2007) Kurosawa Akira's One Wonderful Sunday: Censorship, Context and 'Counter-discursive' Film, Japan Forum, 19 (3): 369-89.
2007 Sharon Kinsella (2006) Minstrelized Girls: Male Performers of Japan's Lolita Complex, Japan Forum, 18 (1): 65-87.
2006 Amy L. Catalinac & Gerald Chan (2005) Japan, the West and the Whaling Issue: Inderstanding the Japanese Side, Japan Forum, 17 (1): 133-63.
2005 Rebecca L.Copeland (2004) Woman Uncovered: Pornography and Power in the Detective Fiction of Kirino Natsuo, Japan Forum, 16 (2): 249-69.
2004 Penelope Francks (2003) Rice for the Masses: Food Policy and the Adoption of Imperial Self-sufficiency, Japan Forum, 15 (1): 125-46.

Thomas Lamarre (2002) From Animation to Anime: Drawing Movements and Moving Drawings, Japan Forum, 14 (2): 329-67.


Adrian Pinnington (2001) Yoshimitsu, Benedict, Endo: Guilt, Shame and the Post-war Idea of Japan, Japan Forum, 13 (1): 91-106.