Prof Tessa Morris-Suzuki


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

The past and present of the indigenous people of the Russo-Japanese border area (Hokkaido, Sakhalin, the Kurile Ilsands and the Lower Amur region); grassroots movements and survival politics in Northeast Asia; the Korean War in regional context; border controls and migration in East Asia; national identity and ethnic minorities in Japan; modern Japanese historiography; human rights in Asia; globalization processes (with particular reference to Northeast Asia); memory and reconciliation in Northeast Asia.

Researcher's projects


Crossroads in the Sea: The Indigenous History of Sakhalin and the Okhotsk Region

Biographical research on Ethel May (Monte) Punshon, 1882-1989, and her role as a bridge-builder between Australia and Japan


Informal Life Politics in the Remaking of Northeast Asia: From Cold War to Post Cold War

Northeast Asia and the Korean War: Legacies of Hot and Cold Wars in Contemporary Constructions of the Region - with Prof. Li Narangoa, Prof. Lee Jeanyong and Dr. leonid Petrov

East Asia Beyond Conflict - A study of the role of media and civil society in historical reconciliation between the countries of Northeast Asia (with Dr. Morris Low, Dr. Leonid Petrov and Prof. Timothy Tsu)

Dilemmas of Humanitarianism in the Asia Pacific region, 1941-1965 - with Dr. Keiko Tamura and Dr. Christine Winter


BA (Hons) (Bristol), PhD (Bath), FAHA


My books include On the Frontiers of History: Rethinking East Asian Borders (2020), Japan's Living Politics (2020), The Living Politics of Self-Help Movements in East Asia (2018), co-edited with Tom Cliff and Shuge Wei; New Worlds from Below (2017), co-edited with Eun Jeong Soh; East Asia Beyond the History Wars (2013), co-authored with Morris Low, leonid Petrov and Timothy Y. Tsu; Borderline Japan (2010), a study of migration and border controls in the postwar era; To the Diamond Mountains (2010), which retraces the journey made by English traveler Emily Georgiana Kemp through China and Korea in 1910; Exodus to North Korea (2007), a study of the mass migration of ethnic Koreans from Japan to North Korea in the Cold War era, and The Past Within Us: Media, Memory, History (2005), which discusses the representation of history in varied popular media. I co-edited the eight-volume history of the Asia-Pacific War published in Japanese by Iwanami Publishers, 2005-2006 and the multi-volume work Hitobito no Seishinshi, history of popular ideas and emotions in postwar Japan, publiched by Iwanami in 2015-2016. 

Career highlights

Laureate of the Academic Award, Fukuoka Prize (2013); ARC Laureate Fellow (2012); Council member, International Council on Human Rights Policy (2011-2012); Convenor, Asian Civil Rights Network (2003-present); Convenor, Asian Studies in Asia Network (1999-2005); Member, Foreign Affairs Council (1998-2001); President, Asian Studies Association of Australia (2000-2002); International Secretary, Australian Academy of the Humanities (1995-98); Chair of Faculty, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University (1994-96).

Current student projects

Paik Yon-jae, Bellows that breathe new life: Informal life politics on organic farming in South Korea, 1976-2014 (PhD project - part of ARC Laureate project "Informal Life Politics in the Remaking of Northeast Asia"; Supervisor and Chair).

Lina Koleilat, Catholic Social Movement in Contemporary South Korea (PhD project; Supervisor and Chair)

Uchralt Otede, Informal Life Politics in Mongolia (PhD project - part of ARC Laureate project "Informal Life Politics in the Remaking of Northeast Asia"; Supervisor and Chair)

Judith Pabian, Everyday politics of resistance in rural Italy, 1943-47 (PhD project; Supervisor).

Danton Leary, Performing the "Sacred Trust" - A Comparative Study of Japan and Australia's Experience with the League of Nations Mandates System (PhD project, Co-Supervisor).

Minseon Lee, The Dynamics of Cross-Cultural Encounters between Korean Villagers and North American Missionaries in an Early Protestant Community in the Late 19th Century Korea (PhD project, Supervisor and Chair)

Joo-whee Lee, Memories of Separated Families and the Narratives of Reunification: The Case of the Repatriated Zainichi 'North Korean Migrants' in South Korea and in Japan (PhD project, Supervisor and Chair).

Rina Kikuchi, (Re)assessment of Sagawa Chika (1911-1936) as a Doubly Marginalised Poet (PhD project, Co-supervisor).


Expertise Areas

  • Migration
  • Citizenship
  • Studies of Asian Society
  • Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Asian History


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