After returning to England in 2013, I began a part-time Masters in Japanese Studies at SOAS University of London. As a specialist university for Asian and African culutre, politics, language, history and art, it was the perfect place for me to find the answers to the questions I’d been asking for years: what was Northern Japan to the centre during Japan’s state formation process? Why was it treated differently in the arts and literature of the classical period? How did the othering of the Ainu peoples begin?

A poetry pilgrimage throughout Tohoku following in the footsteps of monk-poets Basho, Saigyo and Noin began this research project; this dissertation finished it. I gratefully received a distinction for this investigation which sought to bridge an existing gap in scholarship on the poetic treatment of Michinoku (ancient Tohoku) in relation to the socio-political realities of the region throughout history. If you’re interested in the north and all it has signified throughout Japanese history since its ‘inception’ by the centre state, then this is a good read for you. If not, I wouldn’t bother 😉

It goes without saying that this work is my own. It is copyrighted both to myself and to SOAS University; any personal use of this material must be authorised by myself first. Thanks.



State Building and ‘Other’ Building

Waka as State Building and 2 Michinoku in Waka

1 Shifting contexts, Shifting Boundaries:
Ise Monogatari and 2 Saigyo Monogatari


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