James Farrer

Sophia University, Tokyo; Carnegie Council Pacific Fellow; Robert J. Myers Fellow, 2018 and 2019

James Farrer is professor of sociology and global studies at Sophia University in Tokyo, specializing in urban sociology in East Asia, with publications on sexuality, nightlife, expatriate communities, political protest, and food cultures. His ongoing projects focus on urban foodscapes and the place making activities of international migrants in Shanghai. He also has a new project studying community life in his own Tokyo neighborhood in which he documents the place making activities of small business people and neighborhood social entrepreneurs. The ongoing activities of this project are published in a bilingual Japanese-English blog called Nishiogiology that aims to be accessible both to scholars and community members.

His publications include Opening Up: Youth Sex Culture and Market Reform in Shanghai; Shanghai Nightscapes: A Nocturnal Biography of a Global City (with Andrew Field); and Globalization and Asian Cuisines: Transnational Networks and Contact Zones. He has also published over 50 scholarly book chapter and articles and written for general media, including Newsweek Japan, Lonely Planet Guides, Asian Wall Street Journal, YaleGlobal Online, and Global Asia. He has lived in Asia more than two decades, spending part of every year in Shanghai while based most of the year in Tokyo.

Featured Work

Shanghai, June 2018. CREDIT: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/46362496092">Trey Ratcliff</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(CC)</a>

JUL 9, 2019 Podcast

International Migrants in China's Global City, with James Farrer

Is China becoming an immigrant society? Why do foreigners move to the country? What can we learn by studying Shanghai's international community? James Farrer, a ...

CREDIT: <a href="http://www.japanexperterna.se/" target=_blank">Japanexperterna.se</a> (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC</a>)

MAR 11, 2016 Podcast

Gender and Sexuality in Japan

Senior Fellow Devin Stewart speaks with sociologist James Farrer (Sophia University, Tokyo) about the changing norms around gender, sexual rights, dating, and marriage in Japan. ...

CREDIT: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ehnmark/5036199542/">Jacob Ehnmark</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">CC</a>).

NOV 20, 2012 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: As Asia Waltzes Forward on Two Right Feet, America Fixates on the Middle East

The United States can be effective in its pivot toward Asia by using its influence to help resolve territorial disputes and defuse the rightward lurch ...

CREDIT: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mafleen/466511076/">Mafleen</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en">CC</a>).

JAN 22, 2010 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Briefings: The Right to Move

A collection of essays from our joint Sophia University-Carnegie Council conference exploring the ethics of an international right to migration.

JAN 21, 2010 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: Cosmopolitanism as Virtue

Without high levels of migration, and a related ethical commitment to cosmopolitanism, nation-states will fail to develop the individual and collective virtues suitable to "living ...

Migration. CREDIT: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/15388497@N02/3333084735/" target="_blank">Ariel Kaplan</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">CC</a>)

JAN 6, 2010 Article

Defining a Right to Move?

Beyond the ethical and practical arguments for immigration reform, the strongest case for an internationally recognized right to move may arise out of the "worst-case ...

The opening ceremonies, as seen on TV. <br>Photo by <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/deniscollette/2745796325/">Denis Collette</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en">CC</a>).

AUG 28, 2008 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: One Bed, Different Dreams

Seeing the Olympics as a watershed event, Japanese commentators have speculated about a "post-Olympic" China, and their prognoses are generally darker than the more optimistic ...

CREDIT: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chopstixmedia/185039727/">Ian Fenn</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en">CC</a>).

MAY 13, 2008 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: Hu's Dumpling Diplomacy

James Farrer interviews Japanese political scientist Koichi Nakano on the significance of Chinese President Hu Jintao's May 2008 visit to Japan.

"Panda diplomacy" is back. CREDIT: <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/sebastian_bergmann/1436871395/">Sebastian Bergmann</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en">CC</a>).

MAY 13, 2008 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: China and Japan: From Symbolism to Politics

Hu Jintao's five-day visit to Japan underlines the fact that the basis for a strong Sino-Japanese relationship already exists, says James Farrer.

In the melting pot, by <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/28481088@N00/201872285/" target="_blank">tanakawho</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">CC</a>).

JAN 31, 2008 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: The Melting Pot, the Salad Bowl, and the Confucian Ideal

Many have argued we are entering a multipolar world. Yet, this competition will not simply take place in terms of varying approaches to foreign policy ...