Photo of Simon Avenell

Prof Simon Avenell

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Simon Avenell is Professor in the School of Culture, History, and Language and Associate Dean (Higher Degrees by Research), ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. He specializes in modern Japanese history, civic activism, civil society, environmental history, and transnational history. His work has been published in major Japan and area studies journals such as The Journal of Japanese Studiespositions: east asia cultures critiqueSocial Science Japan JournalEnvironmental History and Modern Asian Studies.  In 2010 the University of California Press published his monograph, Making Japanese Citizens: Civil Society and the Mythology of the Shimin in Postwar Japan, a history of civic thought, social activism, and civil society in postwar Japan.  His latest book, Transnational Japan in the Global Environmental Movement (University of Hawaii Press, 2017)explores the contributions of Japanese environmental activists in environmental movements worldwide from the 1960s onward.  He is currently finalizing a new monograph on connections between Japan and Asia in the postwar era (forthcoming, Harvard). From 2014 to 2016 he served as director of the ANU Japan Institute. Before joining the ANU in 2013 he was an Associate Professor and Deputy Head in the Department of Japanese Studies at the National University of Singapore (2003-2012).

For more information visit his homepage at:

Research interests

  • Modern Japanese history
  • Civic activism, civil society, and state-society relations in contemporary Japan
  • Political thought in contemporary Japan
  • Environmental history and environmentalism in contemporary Japan
  • Transnational aspects of contemporary Japanese history
  • Japan in East Asia

Researcher's projects

Book chapter: “Civil society and the history of Heisei”

Book chapter: “Transnationalism, Activism, and Civil Society in Japan,” for inclusion in The Routledge Handbook of Asian Transnationalism (in progress)

Book project: Asia and Japan’s Postwar: Deimperialization, Civic Activism, and National Identity (forthcoming, Harvard)

Edited volume: Transnational Civil Society in Asia: The Potential of Grassroots Regionalization (forthcoming, 2021)

Edited volume: Handbook of Postwar Japanese History (under contract, in progress)


Ph.D. in History, University of California at Berkeley, Spring 2003

MA in Asian Studies, University of California at Berkeley, Spring 1998

BA in Japan Studies, International Christian University, Japan, Spring 1996 (Yokoyama Fellowship 1992-1996)

Bachelor of Commerce (Economics & Business Law), University of Queensland, Australia, 1989


Prof. Avenell teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses relating to modern Japanese history and Japanese politics.

Courses: ASIA2009ASIA6010ASIA2031ASIA6031JPNS3023JPNS6023 )

Available student projects


Prof. Avenell is interested in supervising projects on any aspect of modern Japanese history and contemporary Japan, with a particular interest in the post-1945 era. Previous and current supervisee projects include Japanese war memory, Japanese disaster response, empire, eugenics, & interethnic marriage, cannabis legalization movements in Japan, and transnational links between Japan & Asia.

For information on applying for the PhD Program in the School of Culture, History, and Language click HERE  


Dive into the research topics where Simon Avenell is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 6 Similar Profiles
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.