Dr Jamie Coates

PhD (Australian National University)

School of East Asian Studies

Senior Lecturer in East Asian Studies

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Full contact details

Dr Jamie Coates
School of East Asian Studies
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

I am an anthropologist who joined Sheffield permanently in 2018 after having previously worked at Sheffield, Waseda University, Osaka University and Sophia University. I completed my PhD in anthropology at the Australian National University, where my dissertation focused on an emergent Chinatown in central Tokyo.

I have lived in Beijing, Taipei, Tokyo, and Kyoto, spending most of my twenties and early thirties in East Asia.

I was a China Scholarship Council student at Beijing Language and Culture University, an English teacher in Taiwan, a Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) research scholar at Sophia University, and a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) postdoctoral fellow at Waseda University.

I also previously worked as a research assistant in psychiatric epidemiology in Australia.

In the School of East Asian Studies I teach across both the undergraduate and graduate programmes.

Research interests

I specialise in the cultural anthropology of China and Japan, but enjoy collaborations across fields as diverse as literary, film and media studies, geography, history, psychology, sociology and international relations.

I combine visual and digital ethnography with historical and textual analysis to explore the relationship between technology, mobility and imagination in urban Northeast Asia.

Broadly speaking, I am interested in how different ways of living, and different modes of thinking, foster or inhibit humanity’s capacity to cooperate. In short, I am fascinated by how people manage to get along.

Rather than focusing on the formal and intergovernmental level of this line of questioning, I concentrate on the informal, local and interpersonal scales of this problem.

East Asia serves as an inspiring site for thinking about these questions because of the fraught histories it shares and the increasingly entangled nature of contemporary flows of people, products and popular culture in the region.

Building on my doctoral research on Chinese migration to Japan, I am currently investigating how media and migration re-scale local imaginaries in the Sino-Japanese context.

Focusing on forms of play, consumption, and media use among Chinese people living in Japan I ask how quotidian phenomena such as transport, food, tourism, games, gender and sex are changing the way interpersonal Chinese relations and Sino-Japanese relations are imagined in the current era.

Through this interest, I am increasingly engaging with wider question of how digital technologies are changing relationships and personhood in East Asia, as well as how digital East Asia challenges current debates in the social sciences and humanities.


Journal articles


  • Coates J (2024) Enacting Transnational Masculinity Regimes in the Migrant Context, Routledge Handbook of Chinese Gender & Sexuality (pp. 146-162). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Coates J (2022) Japan as an ‘erotic paradise’ in the Sino-Japanese mobility context: Ethnographic encounters, Capture Japan: Visual Culture and the Global Imagination from 1952 to the Present (pp. 130-152). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Coates J (2021) Representing mobile socialities in the Sino-Japanese Context: A keyword approach In Hill A, Hartmann M & Andersson M (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Mobile Socialities (pp. 115-133). London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Coates J (2020) Contained serendipity as Fieldwork in Japan: studying Chinese people in Japan In Kottmann N & Reiher C (Ed.), Studying Japan Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods (pp. 91-95). Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Coates J (2019) Gender and ethnicity in urban Japan, The Routledge Companion to Gender and Japanese Culture (pp. 69-79). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Coates J (2019) Status Hierarchy and Ethnic Diversity In Hendry J (Ed.), Understanding Japanese Society London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Coates J (2018) Persona, Politics and Chinese Masculinity in Japan: the case of Li Xiaomu In Hird D & Song G (Ed.), The Cosmopolitan Dream: Transnational Chinese Masculinities in a Global Age Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Coates J (2018) The Cultural and Economic Logics of Migration In Liu-Farrer G & Yeoh, Brenda S. A. (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Asian Migrations Routledge View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Coates J (2017) Idleness as method: Hairdressers and Chinese urban mobility in Tokyo, Methodologies of Mobility: Ethnography and Experiment (pp. 109-128). RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews


Research group


I enjoy research supervision and welcome enquiries from students interested in any area relevant to my expertise.

I have previously supervised master’s dissertations related to Chinese popular culture, migration and social theory, as well as undergraduate dissertations on topics related to gender, popular culture, minorities, and bodily practices in China and Japan.

Teaching interests

In Chinese there is a saying wei ren shi biao, which states that in order to be worthy of the name ‘teacher’ you must stand as an exemplar of that which you teach.

To teach by your actions and serve as an example for others. I strive to embody the enthusiasm, curiosity, and empathy that I believe underpins cross-cultural inquiry. I enjoy sharing my own research, and that of my colleagues, with students and see it as important to invite students to see themselves as collaborators in the major scholarly and popular debates of our time.

I also encourage students to see themselves as researchers from the start of their training, inviting them to challenge themselves through research-led teaching. At the same time, I emphasise that the skills and approaches of area focused human sciences can be applied to all walks of life.

My teaching strives to facilitate forms of critical practice that ensure the next generation have the skills to address pressing cultural issues wherever they may find themselves in the future.

Teaching activities

I am currently teaching the following modules:

  • EAS1021 Understanding China 1

  • EAS21009 Contemporary Chinese Society

  • EAS21007 Mass Culture and Digital Society in East Asia

I also teach the Chinese-English translation classes as part of the Chinese studies programme