Chris Perkins

Senior Lecturer in Japanese


Dr Chris Perkins completed a joint honours degree in Japanese Language and Contemporary Society with Education Studies at Oxford Brookes University in 2004, with one year spent at Kitakyushu University as an exchange student. After this he worked as a teacher at four schools in Gifu for two years before returning to complete an MSc (distinction) in International Relations at Royal Holloway University of London in 2007, where he went on to complete his PhD thesis entitled ‘National Thinking and the Politics of Belonging in Contemporary Japan’. He joined the University of Edinburgh as a lecturer in January 2011. His work has appeared in journals including Japan Forum, The European Journal of Social Theory, Global Society, Television and New Media, The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, and Asiatische Studien, as well as in numerous edited collections. His book on media and memory of the left in Japan, The United Red Army on Screen, was published by Palgrave in 2015.

Dr Perkins was recognised for his teaching in the 2012/13 EUSA Teaching Awards, with his Japanese 2B winning "Best Course". He is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Director of Learning and Teaching, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.

Undergraduate teaching

Dr Perkins teaches courses on contemporary Japanese society, Japanese cinema, the radical politics of the 1960s, and research methods.

Research summary

I work on the history of Japanese student politics, Japanese media, and HE pedagogy. I am also interested in social and political theory (both Japanese and beyond), memory, international relations and borders.

Current research interests

I am currently researching state responses to the New Left in Japan with a focus on the law, police, intelligence services, and the media. This project builds on my previous research on the trial of Tokyo University students in 1969, which was published as The Tokyo University Trial and the Struggle Against Order in Postwar Japan and published by Palgrave in 2023.

Past research interests

Please see my Pure profile for past projects and publications.

Project activity

I am currently working on a monograph about the trial of Tokyo university students in 1969.

After the student occupations of Tokyo University in 1968/69, around 600 activists were arrested and put on trial. Over the following year the courtroom fell into disarray as defendants failed to appear, observers interrupted by chanting slogans, and the defence team repeatedly walked out of the building. In the end, the judges took the unprecedented decision to invoke Article 286 section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code to try and sentence the students in absentia, producing volumes of commentary in the national press, student publications, and specialist legal journals. Using the trial as a window into the complex politics of Japan's 1968, this project asks what made the trial so divisive? What was at stake for the students, the state, and the legal profession? And what can the trial tell us about the complex politics of 1968 in Japan as they spilled out of the campus and into the courts?

Current project grants

Co-recipient with Daniel Hammond of a Principal's Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS) Grant for a project titled: 'Ways of Thinking and Practising in Chinese and Japanese Studies' (2012)

View all 24 publications on Research Explorer