Kayoko Fujita

Profie photo of Kayoko Fujita


M.A., Osaka University

fujita18 [at] fc.ritsumei.ac.jp (Replace "[at]" with "@")
Office Location:
Office Hours:
Tuesday 14:40-15:40


  • 1990 B.A. in Japanese History, Faculty of Letters, Osaka University
  • 1993 M.A. in History, Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University
  • 1997-2001 Junior Researcher, Research School of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies, Leiden University
  • 1999 Completed doctoral course work in History, Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University
  • 2001-2004 Research Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • 2004-2007 Designated Researcher, The 21st-Century COE Program <Interface Humanities> , Osaka University

Message to Students

You will find the College of Global Liberal Arts to be one of the finest learning environments available to help you learn about Japan: conveniently located in the heart of the Kansai region, GLA will give you opportunities to explore a variety of unique locations such as Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka where you can witness how contemporary society responds to the legacies of historical globalization. Combined with the study in the courses on Japanese and Global History, your four-year experience in and around the Osaka Ibaraki Campus will be the foundation for continuing in graduate programs or developing a career in a global setting.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Japanese History
  • Material Culture and Global History
  • Special Lecture (Arts and Humanities): Modern History of Japan
  • Special Lecture (Arts and Humanities): The Impact of Globalisation on Japanese Society and Culture
  • Special Lecture (Arts and Humanities): History of Japan’s External Relations
  • Research Seminar I & II
  • Thesis

Introduction to Japanese History

This course provides a broad overview of Japan's history from earliest times (ca. 35,000 years ago) to the mid-nineteenth century. It explores the centuries-long processes through which Japan's unique politico-economic and socio-cultural institutions emerged from continental influences and models and the gradual cultivation of the 'traditional' foundations of modern Japan through interaction with other Asian states and ethnic groups and Western commercial and religious bodies. Students are expected to develop their own perspectives on the complex relationship between Japan's past and present, placing the knowledge that they acquire through the course in the wider context of global and regional history.

Research Interests

History of Japanese Foreign Relations, Maritime Asian History, Global History of Material Culture

I studied the history of Japan's society, economy, and foreign relations at Osaka University (Japan) and the Dutch colonial and commercial expansion in Asia at Leiden University (the Netherlands). My research focuses on the changing patterns of intra-Asian and long-distance trade and their impact on Japan's culture, society, and economy since the 16th century. Combining contemporary works of visual arts, textile products, and archives, my most recent research considers the increasing role of textile production and consumption in shaping the hierarchical social structure and cultural value system of Japan as well as the collective identity of the Japanese during the Edo period.

I have been fortunate in my research career to have chances to engage with a number of wonderful international colleagues: my most recent research activities include a collaboration with a curator at the Worcester Art Museum (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), which resulted in the publication of an article entitled 'Textile imports, consumer culture, and the domestication of exotics' in the catalogue associated with an exhibition 'The Kimono in Print: 300 Years of Japanese Design' (February-May 2021).

Currently, I am working on multiple individual and group research projects, including a revision of an edited volume, Kaiiki Ajiashi Kenkyū Nyūmon [Introduction to Maritime Asian History 800-1900], which was originally published in 2008 and built momentum for the study of transboundary connections in Asian history.

See more on Ritsumeikan University Researchers Database.

Supervision Information

I have long experience in supervising undergraduate and master's research projects across a broad range of topics at Ritsumeikan University. Here are some sample topics of Graduation Theses and Research Papers written by my previous students:

  • Namazu-e [catfish prints] and Amabie paintings: A comparison of popular visual culture on the occasions of disasters in the Edo and Heisei periods
  • The 1908 round-the-world tour: What Meiji Japanese saw on the first packaged tour across the globe
  • Girls and the male gaze in Japanese pop culture from the Meiji to Heisei periods
  • Some recommendations for Japan's traditional crafts industry: From an investigation of the history and current state of the Hakata-ori textile
  • Textbooks and national identity formation in Japan: An analysis of references to Japanese Americans in social-studies textbooks

My research seminar offers you the chance to conduct research on historical subjects associated with Japan, Maritime Asia, and broader global history, with a primary focus on periods from antiquity through to the end of WWII. It also invites you to adopt comparative perspectives and examine historical continuities, encouraging the exploration of links between pre- and post-1945 events within the context of your chosen themes. Anyone who has a serious interest and passion in history is welcome!

Representative Publications

Book Chapter

  • ‘Textile Imports, Consumer Culture, and the Domestication of Exotics.’ In The Kimono in Print: 300 Years of Japanese Design, edited by Vivian Li, 64-73. Worcester, MA: Worcester Art Museum and Leiden, Hotei Publishing, 2020.
  • ‘Changing Silk Culture in Early Modern Japan: On Foreign Trade and the Development of "National" Fashion from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century.’ In Threads of Global Desire: Silk in the Pre-modern World, edited by Dagmar Schafer, Giorgio Riello, and Luca Mola, 295-321. Woodbridge and Rochester, New York: Boydell Press, 2018.
  • ‘Japan Indianized: The Material Culture of Imported Textiles in Japan, 1550-1850.’ In The Spinning World: A Global History of Cotton Textiles, 1200-1850, edited by Giorgio Riello and Prasannan Parthasarathi, 181-204. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Edited Volume

  • Fujita Kayoko, Momoki Shiro, and Anthony Reid, Offshore Asia: Maritime Interactions in Eastern Asia before Steamships. Singapore: ISEAS, 2013.

Teaching History

  • 2007-2016 Associate Professor, College of Asia Pacific Studies, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
  • 2016-2017 Professor, College of Asia Pacific Studies, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
  • 2017-2018 Professor, College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University
  • 2018 to date Professor, College of Global Liberal Arts, Ritsumeikan University

Career History

Along with doing historical research, I enjoy having been given opportunities to explore my career in teaching history in socially and culturally diverse environments: I have teaching experience at various international education institutions at undergraduate and graduate levels, including Japanese and Global History and Historical Sociology of Globalization at Leiden University (Leiden, the Netherlands), Osaka University, St. Andrew's University, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, and Ritsumeikan University. I have also worked as a teacher of Japanese Language A1 for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma Programmes at Het Rijnlands Lyceum International School (Oegstgeest, the Netherlands).