My research oscillates between Japanes Studies and a social scientist approach to Media Research. Shaping influences for my own mulitdisciplinary research approach were interactionist and material semiotic perspectives. Qualitative/quantitative and other polarizing dichotomies I leave behind in favor of appropriateness of the methods in regard to the research question at hand.
The basis for my research is the quest to look behind “common sense“: On the one hand, “naturalized” categories within the academic discourse have to be questioned – like those you encounter in the recent discussions on Japanese popular culture. On the other hand, sociological research should leave the desk(top) behind and go out there, where the people are. That is way I favor qualitative interviews, network analysis, and participant observation for my research questions.
My Ph.D. thesis on global networks, identity formation and internet communities through the example of roleplayers in Japan, Germany, and the US was funded via a research scholarship from the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), and a scholarship from the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (FES). From April 2011 to early 2015 I had the opportunity to conduct my research at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” (Heidelberg) and was also stationed at the Global Center of Excellence for “Reconstruction of the Intimate and Public Spheres in 21st Century Asia” of Kyoto University in 2012 to do additional inquiries for my project in Japan.
Since 2015 I am working as senior lecturer at the Graduate School of Letters of Kyoto University, continuing my research and teaching in the fields of transcultural studies and role-playing studies.