Professor Hugo Dobson
BA, MA (Leeds), MEd, PhD (Sheffield)
School of East Asian Studies
Professor of Japan's International Relations
Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
Full contact details
School of East Asian Studies
1 Upper Hanover Street
Hugo Dobson was awarded his PhD from the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield in 1998. His thesis explored Japan’s participation in United Nations-sponsored peacekeeping operations.
He has worked as a research fellow in the International Centre for Comparative Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo (1997-1999) and lecturer in the international relations of East Asia in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent (1999-2000).
He returned to Sheffield in 2001 as a lecturer in Japan’s international relations, becoming a senior lecturer in 2005 and a professor in 2009. Hugo was Head of the School of East Asian Studies from 2013 to 2019.
His research interests are broadly divided into two strands. The first strand focuses upon Japan's role in international relations, multilateral organisations and global governance, especially the G7 and G20. He has participated in G7 and G20 engagement groups known as the Think 7 and Think 20 that act as an 'ideas bank'.
The second strand of his research explores the role of images in shaping our understanding of international relations and Japan’s role in the world, from postage stamps and logos to TV programmes such as The Simpsons.
He has been the recipient of a number of research grants and has been invited to teach and research at various institutions around the world including the University of Tokyo, Hosei University in Tokyo, Zurich University and Charles University in Prague.
BA, MA (Leeds)
MEd, PhD (Sheffield)
- Research interests
Professor Dobson is currently investigating the transition from the G8 to G20 in light of the global rebalancing of power as seen in the rise of countries like China and India and the recent global economic crisis.
In particular, he is interested in understanding how Japan is managing this process particularly in a forum like the G20. To this end, he attended a number of G20 and G7 summits as a Policy Analyst in recent years.
He has also recently published a third edition of the co-authored textbook Japan’s International Relations: Politics, Economics and Security, whilst conducting research for a new book on the role of former prime ministers in Japanese politics.
- Japan's international relations: Politics, economics and security, third edition. Routledge.
- Nihon to Igirisu no Senso to Wakai. Hosei Daigaku Shuppankyoku.
- Global governance and Japan: The institutional architecture.
- The Group of 7/8. Taylor & Francis.
- Japan and the G7/8: 1975-2002.
- Japan and UN Peacekeeping New Pressures and New Responses. Routledge.
- Japan’s International Relations. Taylor & Francis.
- Japan and Britain at War and Peace. Routledge.
- The Group of 7/8. Routledge.
- Japan and UN Peacekeeping. Routledge.
- Decoding Boundaries in Contemporary Japan; the eKoizumi administration and beyond. Routledge.
- Global Governance and Japan: The Institutional Architecture..
- Japan and Britain in the Contemporary World: Responses to Common Issues. Taylor & Francis.
- Joining Forces: Reviving Multilateralism through Multi-Stakeholder Cooperation. T20 Policy Brief.
- How Informality Can Address Emerging Issues: Making the Most of the G7. Global Policy. View this article in WRRO
- The Afterlives of Post-war Japanese Prime Ministers. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 49(1), 127-150. View this article in WRRO
- Non-western celebrity politics and diplomacy: introduction. Celebrity Studies, 8(2), 312-317. View this article in WRRO
- Is Japan Really Back? The “Abe Doctrine” and Global Governance. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 47(2), 199-224. View this article in WRRO
- China’s Presidency of the G20 Hangzhou: On Global Leadership and Strategy. Global Summitry, 1(2), 151-170. View this article in WRRO
- Masculinity and Japan’s Foreign Relations by Yumiko Mikanagi. The Journal of Japanese Studies, 40(1), 259-262.
- Japan's Diplomatic Double Whammy: Hosting TICAD-IV and the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. Japanese Studies, 32(2), 237-253. View this article in WRRO
- Where are the women in global governance? Leaders, wives and hegemonic masculinity in the G8 and G20 summits. Global Society, 26(4), 429-449.
- "Seoul-searching": The 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. Global Governance, 18(3), 363-381. View this article in WRRO
- Managing the Medusa: Japan-USA relations in GX summitry. The Pacific Review(2), 175-198. View this article in WRRO
- Japan's response to the changing global order: the case of a "Gaggle of Gs". International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 12(2), 229-257. View this article in WRRO
- Japanese postage stamps: propaganda and decision making. Japan Forum, 14(1), 21-39.
- Japan and the changing global balance of power: The view from the summit. Politics, 30(SUPPL. 1), 33-42. View this article in WRRO
- Thomas U. Berger, Mike M. Mochizuki, and Jistuo Tsuchiyama, eds., Japan in International Politics: The Foreign Policies of an Adaptive State. Journal of Cold War Studies, 12(1), 166-167.
- Review: Emerging Powers in Global Governance. International Journal: Canada's Journal of Global Policy Analysis, 64(3), 856-858.
- Pedagogy of Democracy: Feminism and the Cold War in the US Occupation of Japanby Mire Koikari. Gender & History, 21(2), 449-450.
- Book Review: GOVERNMENTS AND THEORIES OF GOVERNANCE Daniel P. Aldrich, Site Fights: Divisive Facilities and Civil Society in Japan and the West (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008, 254 pp., $39.95 hbk.). Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 37(3), 820-821.
- Japan's Aggressive Legalism: Law and Foreign Trade Politics Beyond the WTO (review). The Journal of Japanese Studies, 36(1), 118-122.
- View this article in WRRO The 2008 Hokkaido-Toyako G8 Summit: neither summit nor plummet. Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 6(11).
- Mister Sparkle Meets the Yakuza: Depictions of Japan in The Simpsons. The Journal of Popular Culture, 39(1), 44-68.
- Introduction: East Asian postage stamps as socio-political artefacts. East Asia, 22(2), 3-7.
- Rethinking Japan's “lost decade”. Global Society, 19(2), 211-223.
- The stamp of approval: Decision-making processes and policies in Japan and the UK. East Asia, 22(2), 56-76.
- View this article in WRRO Japan and the G8 Evian Summit: Bilateralism, East Asianism and Multilateralization. G8 Governance, 9.
- View this article in WRRO Japan and the East Asian Financial Crisis: Patterns, Motivations and Instrumentalisation of Japanese Regional Economic Diplomacy. European Journal of East Asian Studies, 1(2), 177-197.
- Regional approaches to peacekeeping activities: The case of the ASEAN regional forum. International Peacekeeping, 6(2), 152-171.
- The failure of the Tripartite pact: Familiarity breeding contempt between Japan and Germany, 1940–45. Japan Forum, 11(2), 179-190.
- View this article in WRRO Japan’s Role in the New Global Economic Governance: Domestic and International Factors. ASIEN: The German Journal on Contemporary Asia, 128, 79-94.
- View this article in WRRO The Cameron Government and Gx Leadership. Global Summitry Journal, 1(1).
- View this article in WRRO Japan and Globalization In Babb J (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies (pp. 572-587). SAGE
- Japan at the Summit: Energy, Climate Change and a ‘Gaggle of Gs’ In Mariotti M, Miyake T & Revelant A (Ed.), Rethinking Nature in Contemporary Japan: Science, Economics, Politics (pp. 103-118). Venice: Edizioni Ca’ Foscari (Foscari University Press). View this article in WRRO
- Japan and the world: From bilateralism to multilateralism, The Japan Handbook (pp. 260-270).
- Japan and der G20-Gipfel: Von Kan nach Cannes In Vogt G & Holgrun P (Ed.), Modernisierungsprozesse in Japan (pp. 127-142).
- Asia shaping the group of 20 or the group of 20 shaping Asia?, The Asia-Pacific, Regionalism and the Global System (pp. 106-121).
- The G8, the G20, and civil society, Global Financial Crisis: Global Impact and Solutions (pp. 245-259).
- Leadership in global governance: Japan and china in the G8 and the united nations, China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia (pp. 181-202).
- Leadership in Global Governance: Japan and China in the G8 and the UN, China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia (pp. 181-202). Edward Elgar Publishing
- Chapter 9: Leadership in Global Governance: Japan and China in the G8 and the United Nations, China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia
- Global Governance and the G7/8 In Hook G (Ed.), Global Governance and Japan The Institutional Architecture (pp. 23-39). Routledge
- Teaching Excellence in Higher Education in Japan: An Evolving Agenda, International Perspectives on Teaching Excellence in Higher Education Improving Knowledge and Practice Routledge
- Japan and the UK at the G8 Summit: Cooperation and Conflict at the Highest Level of Diplomacy, Britain and Japan in the Twentieth Century: One Hundred Years of Trade and Prejudice (pp. 152-165).
- Global Governance, the G7/8 summit and Japan In Hook G (Ed.), Contested Governance in Japan: Sites and Issues (pp. 17-35).
- Introduction: Japan and Britain - similarities, differences, and the future In Dobson H & Hook GD (Ed.), Japan and Britain in the Contemporary World: Responses to Common Issues (pp. 1-17). Taylor & Francis
- Conclusion: Japan and Britain - a common agenda for the twenty-first century?, Japan and Britain in the Contemporary World: Responses to Common Issues (pp. 213-223).
- Preface In Dobson H & Hook GD (Ed.), Japan and Britain in the Contemporary World: Responses to Common Issues (pp. xv-xvi). Taylor & Francis
- Social movements, civil society and democracy in Japan, Globalization and Democratization in Asia: The Construction of Identity (pp. 131-148).
- Social Movements, Civil Society and Democracy in Japan, Globalization and Democratization in Asia: The Construction of Identity (pp. 133-148).
- Japan and Globalization, The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies (pp. 453-464). SAGE Publications Ltd
- International Perspectives on Teaching Excellence in Higher Education Routledge
- Contested Governance in Japan Routledge
- Global Governance and Japan Routledge
- Research group
Associated research groups and collaborators
- Sheffield Political Economy Research Institue (SPERI) - Associate Fellow
- The Sir Bernard Crick Centre - Associate Fellow
Professor Dobson welcomes the opportunity to supervise promising Ph.D. students across a broad range of topics related to international relations and Japan.
He has previously [co-]supervised successful Ph.D. theses on topics including Southeast Asian approaches to conflict resolution, Japanese approaches to humanitarianism, Japan’s regional institution-building initiatives, and China’s aid policies.
He is currently [co-]supervising Ph.D. theses on the impact of globalisation on Japan’s security policies, Japan’s territorial disputes in the East Asian region, and Japan’s relations with North Korea.
- Teaching interests
Everyone remembers a good teacher. For me, it was my A-level History teacher, Mr Kilkenny. Inspired by him, I try to encourage my students at Sheffield to question everything, look at events from a different angle and be passionate about a subject.
To help me achieve this I have completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education at the University of Kent, and a Masters Degree in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at the University of Sheffield.
These courses exposed me to new ways of thinking about teaching and learning and allowed me to create networks that have supported my teaching since.
All my modules make use a wide range of activities based on the principles of enquiry-based learning whereby students take ownership of the learning process, identifying relevant questions and resources, forging and defending their own interpretations - all with the goal of ultimately becoming independent learners.
- Teaching activities
Professor Dobson teaches on the following modules
- EAS2031 Postwar Japanese Politics
- EAS6236 Postwar Japanese Politics
- EAS683 Global Governance and Japan
- Media Expertise
Professor Dobson is available to media organisations to discuss various aspects of Japanese politics, its international relations, and the G7/G20.
He has previously been interviewed by a range of media outlets in the UK and Japan, such as BBC News, The Guardian, China Daily, Canada TV (CTV) and China Global Television Network (CGTN).
Please contact him either by phone or email to arrange an interview.