Hugo photo

Professor Hugo Dobson

Professor of Japan's International Relations
Head of Department

BA, MA (Leeds), MEd, PhD (Sheffield)

Contact details
Tel: 0114 222 8437
Room: B04

Twitter: @OguhNosbod
Google Scholar


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 the School of East Asian Studies in 2001 as a lecturer in Japan’s international relations, becoming a senior lecturer in 2005 and a professor in 2009.

Professor Dobson’s 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 G8 and G20. 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.


Associated Research Groups and collaborators

Sheffield Political Economy Research Institue (SPERI) - Associate Fellow
The Sir Bernard Crick Centre - Associate Fellow

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 the G20 Summit in Cannes in November 2011 and the G8 Summit in Chicago in May 2012

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.

East Asia and Global Governance -  a guide to the 2016 G7 and G20 Summits hosted in East Asia

Research Supervision

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.


Professor Dobson currently teaches on the following modules:

EAS137 Japanese Politics
EAS321 Japan in the World
EAS682 Global Governance and Japan

Teaching Philosophy

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.

Media expertise

Professor Dobson is available to media organisations to discuss various aspects of Japanese politics, its international relations, and the G8/G20.

He has previously been interviewed by a range of media outlets in the UK and Japan, such as BBC News, The Guardian, Film Four, The Japan Times and Asahi Shinbun. Here you can watch an interview he did for the BBC at the G7 Summit in Germany in 2015. Below please see a video interview he did for China Daily at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China in 2016.

Please contact him either by phone or email to arrange an interview.



Journal articles


  • Dobson H (2015) Japan and globalization, The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies (pp. 453-464).
  • Dobson HJ (2014) Japan and Globalization In Babb J (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies (pp. 572-587). SAGE View this article in WRRO
  • Dobson HJ (2014) 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
  • Dobson HJ (2013) Japan and der G20-Gipfel: Von Kan nach Cannes In Vogt G & Holgrun P (Ed.), Modernisierungsprozesse in Japan (pp. 127-142).
  • Dobson HJ & Yukako M (2013) Teaching Excellence in Higher Education in Japan: An Evolving Agenda, International Perspectives on Teaching Excellence in Higher Education Improving Knowledge and Practice (pp. 183-196). Routledge
  • Dobson HJ (2013) Foreword In Totman C (Ed.), A History of Japan (pp. xv-xxi).
  • Dobson H (2012) Asia shaping the group of 20 or the group of 20 shaping Asia?, The Asia-Pacific, Regionalism and the Global System (pp. 106-121).
  • Dobson H (2011) The G8, the G20, and civil society, Global Financial Crisis: Global Impact and Solutions (pp. 245-259).
  • Farrall S (2009) Preface In Kury H & Maíllo AS (Ed.), Punitividad y victimación en la experiencia contemporánea. Estudios
  • Dobson H (2008) 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).
  • Dobson HJ (2008) 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
  • Dobson HJ (2007) Global Governance and the G7/8 In Hook G (Ed.), Global Governance and Japan The Institutional Architecture (pp. 23-39). Routledge
  • Dobson HJ & yukako M (2007) Teaching Excellence in Higher Education in Japan: An Evolving Agenda, International Perspectives on Teaching Excellence in Higher Education Improving Knowledge and Practice Routledge
  • Dobson HJ (2007) 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).
  • Dobson H (2007) Global governance and the Group of Seven/Eight, Global Governance and Japan: The Institutional Architecture (pp. 23-39).
  • Dobson HJ (2005) Global Governance, the G7/8 summit and Japan In Hook G (Ed.), Contested Governance in Japan: Sites and Issues (pp. 17-35).
  • Dobson H & Hook GD (2003) 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).
  • Dobson H & Hook GD (2003) 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
  • Dobson H & Hook GD (2003) Preface In Dobson H & Hook GD (Ed.), Japan and Britain in the Contemporary World: Responses to Common Issues (pp. xv-xvi). Taylor & Francis
  • Dobson HJ (2002) Social Movements, Civil Society and Democracy in Japan, Globalization and Democratization in Asia: The Construction of Identity (pp. 133-148).

Edited books

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