1. Books

2. Journal Articles

3. Book Chapters in Edited Volumes & Other Publications

4. Policy-Focused Publications

5. Popular Publications (in Japanese)


1. Books


Lifelong Learning in Neoliberal Japan: Risk, Knowledge, and Community       Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, November 2015; Paperback available from July 2016



Lifelong learning has come into greater focus recently, as globalization has gathered pace and people face uncertainty in their everyday lives. I believe that promoting lifelong learning is an action that directly reduces risks for both the state and the individual. Employing Ulrich Beck’s theory of risk, I am interested in exploring the dynamics of lifelong learning at the grassroots level in Japan and Europe (in particular, Nordic countries for a comparative perspective), both of which are faced with a major institutional change – the rollback of welfare state provisions and the rise of neoliberal politics. I look at how “large processes” (in Charles Tilly’s sense) of social change shift the responsibility of risk management in economic, social, and political institutions from states to markets, from public to private as well as civil society bodies, and from collectives to individuals. My ethnographic research directly tackles this puzzle, showcasing lifelong learning through the lens of risk.

This book project was funded by two fellowships: For the academic year 2009-2010, I was on the postdoctoral fellowship in the German Research Foundation (DFG)-funded research project 1613 Risk and East Asia at the University of Duisburg-Essen Institute of East Asian Studies.  In the following year, 2010-2011, the fieldwork was supported by a grant from the Abe Fellowship Program administered by the Social Science Research Council of the Untied States. The book also intends to enhance anthropological understanding of neoliberalism by showcasing the re-organization of Japanese public space through new disciplined knowledge generated by the state’s policy of promoting lifelong learning.


The Failure of Civil Society?: The Third Sector and the State in Contemporary Japan Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. March 2009; Paperback available from December 2009


Winner of the 2010 Japan NPO Research Association Book Award 

This book is an ethnographic study of a Japanese voluntary organization, a Non-Profit Organization (NPO), the seed of the institutionalization of civil society under the 1998 NPO Law.

Can civil society be constructed successfully by a state? – This book seeks to answer this question through the case of Japan. Today, civil society is a transnational phenomenon. It broadly refers to non-state institutions and associations that are critical to sustaining modern democratic participation. Each society and culture molds its own version of civil society, reflecting its most important values, such as individual liberty, public solidarity, pluralism, and nonviolence, all of which sustain a dynamic civic culture. In contemporary Japan where the boundaries between state, civil society, and the market are often complex and/or blurred, the NPO has been proliferating as a key actor in shaping Japanese “civil society.”

Primarily, my research on civil society contributes to the anthropological scholarship on neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is commonly viewed as an economic doctrine that endorses individual freedoms and rights, and seeks to limit excessive intervention by the state through decentralized authority. The ideology has become dominant in advanced industrial countries, like the UK, the United States, and Japan, since the 1980s. Meanwhile, anthropologists offer alternative perspectives on neoliberalism; we present neoliberalism as a technology of governing people. A variety of neoliberal strategies of governing are re-engineering and re-fashioning political space and populations, including people’s relationships to each other, their sense of membership in a public. My ethnographic case study documented as The Failure of Civil Society? illuminates a political project made by the Japanese neoliberal state to mold a particular set of the state-individual relationships in a specific manner under the name of civil society.

Another contribution of this project was to fill a substantive gap in the scholarship on current civil society. Most of the work in the field contained normative theoretical formulations with Western intellectual origins or in a post-socialism context. The book fills such an ethnocentric hole, as it is an original ethnography, bringing Japan’s civil society experiences squarely into the global discourse on civil society. I explored the social and historical particularities of the Japanese meaning of “civil society” or shimin shakai – looking at how the concept is interpreted and practiced at the ordinary grassroots. The conflicts within the ongoing NPO construction present powerful narratives–real voices and real experiences against the state discourse, which have yet to be vibrantly documented as a form of ethnography; I destabilize the conventional assumption of civil society.

Ultimately, this book calls into question the relationship between the state and the third sector in contemporary Japanese social and political life, and broadly raises the issue of whether civil society can be intentionally created through the action of the state. More practically, I believe that the narratives documented in this book would provide Japanese policy makers with a significant strategy for affecting the NPO policy. Further, there are important policy implications of the book for any state seeking to mold its society in specific ways.


Edited Volume

New Frontiers in Japanese Studies. London; New York: Routledge (under contract), edited with Philip Seaton

Routledge Handbook of Civil Society in Asia. London; New York: Routledge. Editor. September 2017



Routledge Handbook of Civil Society in Asia is an interdisciplinary resource, covering one of the most dynamically expanding sectors in contemporary Asia. Originally a product of Western thinking, civil society represents a particular set of relationships between the state and either society or the individual. Each culture, however, moulds its own version of civil society, reflecting its most important values and traditions.

This handbook provides a comprehensive survey of the directions and nuances of civil society, featuring contributions by leading specialists on Asian society from the fields of political science, sociology, anthropology and other disciplines. Comprising 35 essays on critical topics and issues, it is divided into two main sections:

Part I covers country specific reviews, including Japan, China, South Korea, India and Singapore.

Part II offers a series of thematic chapters, such as democratization, social enterprise, civic activism and the media.

As an analysis of Asian social, cultural and political phenomena from the perspective of civil society in the post-World War II era, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Asian Studies, Asian Politics and Comparative Politics.



2. Journal Articles

Security Paradigms and Social Movements: The Changing Nature of Japanese Peace Activism. Asian Journal of Social Science. 46(6): 725–747. 2018

The Right to Evacuation: The Self-Determined Future of Post-Fukushima Japan. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 15(4): 648-658. 2014

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2014 IACS. pdf [304.71 KB]
Ogawa 2014 IACS.pdf

Lifelong Learning in Tokyo: A Satisfying Engagement with Action Research in Japan. Anthropology in Action: Journal of Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice 20(2): 46-57. 2013

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2013 Anthropology in Action.pdf [2.01 MB]
Ogawa 2013 Anthropology in Action.pdf

Young Precariat at the Forefront: Anti-Nuclear Rallies in Post-Fukushima Japan. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 14(2): 317-326. 2013

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2013 IACS.pdf [217.67 KB]
Ogawa 2013 IACS.pdf

Demanding a Safer Tomorrow: Japan’s Anti-Nuclear Rallies in the Summer of 2012. Anthropology Today 29(1): 21-24. 2013

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2013 Anthropology Today.pdf [3.89 MB]
Ogawa 2013 Anthropology in Action.pdf

Risk Management by a Neoliberal State: Construction of New Knowledge through Lifelong Learning in Japan. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 34(1): 132-144. 2012

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2012 Discourse.pdf [131.27 KB]
Ogawa 2012 Discourse.pdf

Facilitating Self-Regulated Learning: An Exploratory Case of Teaching a University Course on Japanese Society. International Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education 23(2): 166-174. 2011

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2011 IJTLHE.pdf [310.80 KB]
Ogawa 2011 IJTLHE.pdf

Peace, a Contested Identity: Japan’s Constitutional Revision and Grassroots Peace Movements. Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research 36 (3): 373-399. 2011

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2011 Peace & Change.pdf [106.92 KB]
Ogawa 2011 Peace & Change.pdf

Protecting the Right to Live Peacefully: A Report from Takae, Okinawa. Co-authored with Yasushi Ikeo. Global Change, Peace & Security 22 (3): 377-383. 2010

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2010 Global Change, Peace & Security.pdf [101.56 KB]
Ogawa 2010 Global Change, Peace & Security.pdf

Japan’s New Lifelong Learning Policy: Exploring Lessons from the European Knowledge Economy. International Journal of Lifelong Education 28(5): 601-614. 2009

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2009 Int’l Journal of Lifelong Education.pdf [90.31 KB]
Ogawa 2009 International Journal of Lifelong Education.pdf

Invited by the State: Institutionalizing Volunteer Subjectivity in Contemporary Japan. Asian Anthropology 3: 71-96. 2004

pdf_wh24Ogawa 2004 Asian Anthropology.pdf [1.99 MB]
Ogawa 2004 Asian Anthropology.pdf


3. Book Chapters in Edited Volumes & Other Publications

Japanese NPOs and the State Re-examined: Reflections 18 years on. In Civil Society and the State in Democratic East Asia: Between Entanglement and Contention in Post-High Growth. David Chiavacci, Julia Obinger, and Simona Grano, eds. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press (forthcoming)

Civil Society: Past, Present, and Future. In Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan (2nd edition). Jeff Kingston, ed. London; New York: Routledge. 2nd edition [revised version]. Pp. 47–58. 2019.

「アクションリサーチ」の実践現場から—持続可能な学びへの挑戦 (Practicing “action research” – challenges for sustainable learning) 宮崎里司, 樋口くみ子編 サスティナビリティ・サイエンスとオーストラリア研究:地域性を超えた持続可能な地球社会への展望 横浜:オセアニア出版 In Sustainability Science and Australian Studies, Satoshi Miyazaki, ed. Yokohama: Oceania Press. Pp. 208-219. 2018. In Japanese

Introduction. In Routledge Handbook of Civil Society in Asia. Akihiro Ogawa, ed. London; New York: Routledge. Pp. 1–14. 2017.

Media Side-lines the Sit‑in Protest in Takae, Okinawa. In Press Freedom in Japan, Jeff Kingston, ed. London; New York: Routledge. 2017

Okinawa Road Map Leads to Another Dead End. Invited article by the Asian Studies Association of Australia. 2016

Japan’s Awakening Protest Movement. Invited article by the Asian Studies Association of Australia. 2016

New Journalism in Japan: Using Independent Digital Sources for Social Research. In Japanese Journalism and the Japanese Newspaper: A Supplemental Reader. Anthony Rausch, ed. Pp. 55-74. Amherst, NY: Teneo Press. 2014

A Fulfilling Case of Action Research in Japan: My 10-Year Engagement in a Tokyo Lifelong Learning Group. In Methoden der Alter(n)sforschung: Disziplinäre Positionen und transdisziplinäre Perspektiven. Andrea von Hülsen-Esch, Miriam Seidler, and Christian Tagsold, eds. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag. Pp. 127–141. 2013

Civil Society: Past, Present, and Future.In Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan. Jeff Kingston, ed. London; New York: Routledge. Pp. 51-62. 2013

The book was a winner of the Choice Outstanding Academic Title award in 2014.

Peace, a Contested Identity: Japan’s Constitutional Revision and Grassroots Peace Movements. In Critical Readings on Contemporary Japanese Politics. Jeff Kingston, ed. Volume 3: Section 3: 1093-1116. Leiden, the Netherlands; Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. December 2012. [Reprint: Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research 36 (3): 373-399. 2011

The New Prominence of the Civil Sector in Japan. In Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society. Victoria Lyon Bestor and Theodore C. Bestor, eds. Pp. 186-197. London; New York: Routledge. 2011

The Construction of Citizenship through Volunteering: The Case of Lifelong Learning. In Japan’s Politics and Economy: Perspectives on Change. Patricia A. Nelson and Marie Söderberg, eds. Pp. 86-98. London; New York: Routledge. 2009

“Induced” Voluntarism: A New Role for Schools? In The Demographic Challenge: A Handbook about Japan, Florian Coulmas, Harald Conrad, Annette Schad-Seifert and Gabriele Vogt, eds. Pp. 721-732. Leiden, the Netherlands; Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. 2008

Initiating Change: Doing Action Research in Japan. In Dispatches from the Field: Neophyte Ethnographers in a Changing World. Andrew Gardner and David M. Hoffman, eds. Pp. 207-221. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. 2006

When the NPO Law Sinks In: Japanese Civil Society, Shimin, and Neoliberalism. Harvard University Program on US-Japan Relations Occasional Paper Series 05–10. 2005

市民社会論への新しいアプローチ (New Approach to Civil Society Studies). 月刊みんぱく Gekkan Minpaku 29(4): 6. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology. 2005


4. Policy-Focused Publications

フィランソロピーの今 (Philanthropy Now), 毎日新聞夕刊 Mainichi Shimbun Evening edition p. 2. August 18, 2018

Launch of the Routledge Handbook of Civil Society: An Interview with the Editor, Akihiro Ogawa. IPS Update Issue – an article published by Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. November 2017

Protest and Democracy in Asia. Pursuit – an interview article on my peace research written by Ben Rodin. Published by the University of Melbourne. July 2017

「アジアの世紀」の市民 (Citizens for “Asian Century”) 社会教育 Shakai Kyōiku 841: 22–23. Tokyo: Nippon-Seinenkan.* July 2016

「文化ボランティア全国交流会」報告 (Report on the culture volunteers’ national network meeting) 社会教育 Shakai Kyōiku 811: 54–56. Tokyo: Nippon-Seinenkan.* January 2014

座談会:社会教育を元気にするイベント (Events that galvanize community-oriented education). 社会教育 Shakai Kyōiku 808: 7–31. Tokyo: Nippon-Seinenkan.* October 2013

提言: 文化ボランティアのこれから—アクションリサーチの可能性 (Proposal: Future of culture volunteers – exploring a possibility for action research). 社会教育 Shakai Kyōiku 804: 36–39. Tokyo: Nippon-Seinenkan.* June 2013

スウェーデンの若年者失業問題 (Youth unemployment in Sweden). NIRA研究報告書「就職氷河期世代のきわどさ」Pp. 104-113. National Institute for Research Advancement, Tokyo, Japan. 2008.

伝統文化と文化ボランティア (Traditional culture and culture volunteers). 社会教育 Shakai Kyōiku 734: 55–61. Tokyo: Nippon-Seinenkan.* August 2007

グローバリゼーションと大人の学び (Globalization and adult learning). 社会教育 Shakai Kyōiku 732: 42–49. Tokyo: Nippon-Seinenkan.* June 2007

大人の学びのプログラム (Learning program for adults). 社会教育 Shakai Kyōiku 730: 42–49.Tokyo: Nippon-Seinenkan.* April 2007

生涯学習とシティズンシップ (Lifelong learning and citizenship). 社会教育Shakai Kyōiku 725: 4–11. Tokyo: Nippon-Seinenkan.* November 2006

When the NPO Law Sinks In: Japanese Civil Society, Shimin, and Neoliberalism. Harvard University Program on US-Japan Relations Occasional Paper Series 05-10. 2005

*Nippon-Seinenkan is a national youth center working closely with Japan’s Ministry of Education.


5. Popular Publications: Writings for general audience (in Japanese)

ミュゼ リサーチ日本社会 連載中/ Musée    Researching Japanese society since January 2009

35. 広島で考えたこと What I thought in Hiroshima, 122:33, December-March 2018

34. アボリジニとの対話Dialogue with Aborigine, 121:33, July-November 2018

33. ロスアラモス Los Alamos, 120:33, April-June 2018

32. 北斎展Hokusai Exhibition 119:33, October-December 2017

31. アイヌ民族博物館 Ainu Museum, 118:33, July 2017

30. スワンヒルへの旅 Travel to Swan Hill, 117:33, April 2017

29. 高須賀米 Takasuka Rice, 116:33, January 2017

28. 移民博物館 Immigration Museum, 115:33, September 2016

27. イアン・ポッター博物館 Ian Potter Museum, 114: 33, May 2016

26. メルボルン到着 Arrived in Melbourne, 112: 33, October 2015

25. ノーベル博物館、そして … Nobel Museum, and …, 111: 33, July 2015

24. 安倍リトリートAbe Retreat, 110:33, March 2015

23. スウェーデンの選挙Election in Sweden, 109: 33. November 2014

22. ネオリベ時代の生涯学習 Lifelong Learning in a Neoliberal Era, 108: 33. July 2014

21. ストックホルム日本研究会 Stockholm Seminar on Japan, 107: 33. March 2014

20. 日瑞関係150周年 150 years of the Diplomatic Relationship between Japan and Sweden, 106:33. January 2014

19. ストックホルムの暴動 Riots in Stockholm 105:33 September 2013

18. 日本の平和主義 Japanese Pacifism, 104:33. June 2013

17. 文化ボランティアネットワーク Culture Volunteers’ Network, 103:33. March 2013

16. ロンドン暴動から1年たって The London Riots One Year On, 102:33. December 2012

15. 駒場の夏 Summer in Komaba, 101:33. October 2012

14. ドセント Docent, 100:33. June 2012

13. 聖ルシア祭 Lucia, 99:33. January 2012

12. ソーシャルキャピタルと東アジア Social Capital and East Asia, 98:33 October 2011

11. 大学改革の波 Waves of University Reform, 97:33. July 2011

10. コペンハーゲンでの出会い Encounters in Copenhagen, 96:33. April 2011

9. 新しい公共 New Public Commons, 95:33. January 2011

8. 弘前再訪 Revisiting Hirosaki, 94:35. October  2010

7. 日・EU関係 Japan-EU Relations, 93:35. July 2010

6. ストックホルムの日本研究 Japanese Studies in Stockholm, 92:35. April 2010

5. 20年目のベルリン Berlin Twenty Years Later, 91:33. January 2010

4. リスクと東アジア Risk and East Asia, 90:35. October 2009

3. スウェーデンの夏至祭 Swedish Midsummer, 89:35. July 2009

2. 市民社会の失敗?The Failure of Civil Society?, 88:33. April 2009

1. 僕が文化ボランティア全国フォーラムに参加するわけ My reasons for participating in the national forum of culture volunteers, 87:37. January 2009


Copyright © 2008−2019 Akihiro Ogawa