Professor Sho Konishi

Featured Publication

I have recently completed an article on symbiotic nature and survival politics and another on the emergence of the Red Cross and humanitarianism in Japan.   My book on anarchist modernity turns our conceptions of modern history of Japan upside down from non-state transnational perspectives.  I am also currently working on the history of religion and virtue, a transnational intellectual history of revolutionary losers.  My other publications have covered a broad range of themes, such as linguistic democracy, microbiology, entomology, anarchism, agrarian and ecological thought, and art.  They are on the whole a cohesive attempt to challenge some of the most established conceptual contours in the historiography of modern Japan. They offer new concepts, theory, and methods for doing modern intellectual and transnational history of Japan. 

"Provincializing the State: Nature and Survival Politics in Post‐World War Zero Japan"  In New Worlds from Below, edited by Tessa Morris Suzuki (Australian National University, 2017).

Anarchist Modernity:  Cooperatism and Japanese-Russian Intellectual Relations in Modern Japan (Harvard University Press, 2013)

Anarchist Modernity

Mid-nineteenth century Russian radicals who witnessed the Meiji Restoration saw it as the most sweeping revolution in recent history and the impetus for future global progress. Acting outside imperial encounters, they initiated underground transnational networks with Japan. Prominent intellectuals and cultural figures, from Peter Kropotkin and Lev Tolstoy to Saigo Takamori and Tokutomi Roka, pursued these unofficial relationships through correspondence, travel, and networking, despite diplomatic and military conflicts between their respective nations. Tracing these non-state networks, Anarchist Modernity uncovers a major current in Japanese intellectual and cultural life between 1860 and 1930 that might be described as "cooperatist anarchist modernity"--a commitment to realizing a modern society through mutual aid and voluntary activity, without the intervention of state governance. These efforts later crystallized into such movements as the Nonwar Movement, Esperantism, and the popularization of the natural sciences. Examining cooperatist anarchism as an intellectual foundation of modern Japan, Sho Konishi offers a new approach to Japanese history that fundamentally challenges the "logic" of Western modernity. It looks beyond this foundational construct of modern history writing to understand people, practices, and cultural expressions that have been forgotten or dismissed as products of anti-modern nativist counter urges against the West.

  • Religious, scientific, cultural and intellectual history
  • Transnational History(Russia and East Asia in particular)
  • History of global humanitarianism and symbiosis

Oxford University Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies

  • Japan's Russia: Challenging the East-West Paradigm

  • Provincializing the State: Symbiotic Nature and Survival Politics in Post-World War Zero Japan

  • The Science of Symbiosis and Linguistic Democracy in Early Twentieth-century Japan

  • The Emergence of an International Humanitarian Organization in Japan: The Tokugawa Origins of the Japanese Red Cross

  • Anarchist Modernity: Cooperatism and Japanese-Russian Intellectual Relations in Modern Japan

  • Translingual World Order: Language Without Culture in Post-Russo-Japanese War Japan

  • Ordinary Farmers Living Anarchist Time: Arishima Cooperative Farm in Hokkaido, 1922-1935

  • The People at Rest: the Anarchist Origins of Ogawa Usen's ‘Nihonga’

  • The Absence of Portsmouth in Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Imagination of Peace

  • Translation and Conversion Beyond Western Modernity: Tolstoian Religion in Meiji Japan

  • More

DPhil Supervisor for:

  • Alice Baldock - History
  • Sungyeon Choi - Oriental Studies
  • Chiara Comastri - History 
  • Natalia Doan - Oriental Studies
  • Maro Dotulong - History
  • Alexandria Dugal - History
  • Eiko Honda - History
  • Kaoruko Kawashima - History
  • Chinami Oka - History
  • Olga Puzanova - Theology
  • Yu Sakai - History
  • Eiko Soga - Fine Art
  • Warren Stanislaus - History
  • Chui Joe Tham - History

I would be willing to hear from potential DPhil students regarding:

  • Japanese history
  • Transnational history
  • Nonwestern perspectives on global history
  • Art history

I currently teach:


  Further Subject: Modern Japan