European Association for Japanese Studies

Ian Rapley

Lecturer in East Asian History at the History Department at Cardiff University


I am a historian of modern Japan, based at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. I have been a beneficiary of the European Association of Japanese Studies throughout my research career – as a participant at a doctoral workshop, a presenter on, then a convenor of panels, and now as one of two convenors of the Intellectual History and Philosophy section in this year’s conference. Through feedback and encouragement, through networking and friendships, and through the exposure to others’ presentations and ideas, the EAJS has made a huge difference to my own intellectual development, so I have long felt that I would like the opportunity to contribute to facilitating this experience for others. As a scholar of Japan based institutionally in a disciplinary environment, I see organisations like the EAJS as offering opportunities that departmental colleagues working on other times and places do not have access to. Thinking practically, I am just completing a second term as the Treasurer of the British Association of Japanese Studies, and am the chief editor of a small open access journal, Asian Literature & Translation (if you have a translation or another piece of research please consider submitting it to us!). As a result, I can offer the EAJS financial literacy and experience of administrative management, as well as genuine enthusiasm for what we can achieve as an intellectual community and organisation.


Currently Lecturer in East Asian History in the History Department of Cardiff University. I am an innovative teacher and researcher with a background in the natural sciences (undergraduate/masters degree in mathematics) and business and finance (significant professional experience). I have a growing track record of public engagement through public appearances and writing, and a well established track record of administration & management (through teaching, journal editing, prior research network management, and trusteeship of the British Association of Japanese Studies).


2014 – present            Lecturer in East Asian History, History Department, Cardiff University

2013 – 2014                Postdoctoral Teaching Associate, Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford

2007 – 2013                MPhil, DPhil, University of Oxford

2002 – 2007                Financial Analyst, City of London

1999 – 2001                Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Scholarship

1999                            MMath in Mathematics (combined undergraduate & master level degree), University of Oxford


I am the Editor in Chief of Asian Literature & Translation (an open access journal published by Cardiff University Press) and the outgoing Honorary Treasurer of the British Association of Japanese Studies

I have held research funding from bodies including the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, UK Research & Innovation, the Japan Foundation Endowment Committee, & held a visiting position at Nichibunken in Kyoto.

I have written for a non-academic audience, including The Asian Review of Books, Kyoto Journal, and Public Seminar; and given presentations/made appearances for at the Japan Society (London), BBC World Service, National Gallery Scotland

I am interested in innovative forms of teaching and engagement. For example, I developed & maintain a twitter bot which tweets poems and lists in the style of the Japanese classic, The Pillow Book:


Green Star Japan: Language and Internationalism in the Japanese Esperanto Movement, 1905-1945  – manuscript under review with a major US University press

‘Sekaigo: The international languages of Meiji Japan’, Japan Forum, 32:4 (2020)

‘The Fractured Transnational Lens: Motives and Representations in Deguchi Onisaburo’s Mongolian Expedition’, Journal of Northeast Asian History, 15-1 (2019)

‘A language for Asia? Transnational encounters in the Japanese Esperanto movement, 1906-1928’. In: Iacobelli, P., Leary, D. and Shinnosuke, T. eds. Transnational Japan as History: Empire, Migration, and Social Movements. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2015)

‘When global and local culture meet: Esperanto in 1920s rural Japan’. Language Problems and Language Planning 37(2), pp. 179-196 (2013).