Professor Ian Neary

Professor in the Politics of Japan and Course Director for the MSc/MPhil in Japanese Studies

I have been working at Oxford University since 2004 before which I spent 15 years as a professor of Japanese studies at the University of Essex. I am based in the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies where I acted as director between 2006-2014. In October 2011 I became head of SIAS and served in that post until December 2014. I was a member of the Area Studies panel in the REF2014 exercise.

My research has mainly been focused on Japanese political and social history in the twentieth century particularly the experience of Buraku communities in the process of industrialization and modernization. However I have also worked on industrial policy, in particular the pharmaceutical industry, on broader issues relating to human rights in East Asia and contemporary Japanese politics.

During 2015 I was on sabbatical leave as a Japan Foundation visiting fellow at Kyushu University from January to October and Keio University from October to December.  I spent this period of research leave conducting research on the formation, development and implementation of the Dowa Project policies.

Previous Posts Held

Lecturer, Department of History and Politics, Huddersfield Polytechnic 1979-84

Lecturer, Department of Politics, Newcastle University 1984-9

Sanwa Professor of Japanese studies, Department of Government, Essex University, 1989-2004

Teaching Responsibilities

Professor Neary provides teaching about Japanese politics to undergraduate students on the PPE and Japanese studies programmes, to masters students on the Contemporary Japan and Comparative government programmes as well as supervising doctoral students working on Japan.

Media Expertise

Japanese politics

Recent publications include


The Buraku Issue in Modern Japan: the career of Matsumoto Jiichiro, Routledge, 2010                   

Human Rights in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Routledge, 2002

State and Politics in Japan, Polity 2002.

Chapters in Edited Collections

Human Rights, in The Oxford Handbook on IR in Asia ed. S M Pekkanen, R Foot and J Ravenhill, OUP, 2014.

‘Democracy and Human Rights in Post-Cold War East Asia’ in Chung-Si Ahn and Bertrand Fort (eds.) Democracy in Asia Europe and the World –towards a universal definition, Marshall Cavendish 2006, pp 167-179.

‘Status and Class’ A Companion to Japanese History, ed. W M Tsutsui Blackwell 2007, pp 389-406.

Journal Articles

“Human Rights in the Discourse of Buraku Liberation: from the 1920s to the 1990s,’ Development and Society 39, No. 2 (2010): 285-298.

‘Matsumoto Jiichiro and the making of democracy in postwar Japan,’ Japan Forum 19, No. 2 (July 2007).

‘Parliamentary Democracy in Japan’ Parliamentary Affairs 57, No. 3 (July 2004): 666-681.

'Japan's Human Security Agenda and its Domestic Human Rights Policies', Japan Forum 15, No. 2 (2003): 267-286

'Burakumin at the end of history', Social Research 70, No 1 (Spring 2003): 269-294

Contact Information


Phone: +44 1865 274573

Fax: +44 1865 274574