Social Sciences

Social Sciences


Ryota Nishino
  • Ryota Nishino
    Job Info
    School of Social Sciences
    Position Title:
    Senior Lecturer
    Contact Info
    Phone #:
    +679 32 31874
  • Personal Info

    Dr Ryota Nishino 
    BA (Hons) Rhodes, CELTA (Cantab.), Grad. Dip. Teaching & Learning (Canterbury, NZ), PhD (West. Aust.)

    Joined the USP as a Lecturer in June 2012, after teaching at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Fiji National University. I teach courses on world history (contemporary world, East Asia, the British Empire) and thematic issues such as travel writing, racism, and historical debates. Teaching at USP could not be more rewarding, because I enjoy teaching and interacting with students from all walks of life and from diverse backgrounds.

    Research interests 

    My research interests concern the circulation of historical knowledge in different media such as history textbooks, travel writing and war memory. What ties these fields together is my concerns about the circulation of historical knowledge across multiple societies, media and times. I consider my approach as “History plus”. The fields I have been working on, from the latest, are:

    • Monograph: “Footprints on Pacific War battle sites: Japanese and Australian travelogues, history and memory”. 



    The book project is still in its infancy. It expands the idea of soldiers as “travellers of sorts”. I am looking into how journeys to battle sites—both during the wartime and afterwards—can evoke the questions of wartime trauma and healing, military masculinity, and the reconstruction and consumption of historical memories. The Japanese and the Australians fought primarily in Papua and New Guinea. The soldiers and military personnel formed often ambivalent and ambiguous relationships with the Papua New Guineans. The project may inform what these memories can tell today. The wartime memory, though long gone, may form a sediment of memories that inform the contemporary relationships between the three countries.

    • Japanese travel writing about the South Pacific Islands

    The project explores what Japanese travel writers to the Southern Pacific Islands did and saw on their journeys to the Pacific Islands from the late 19th century to the contemporary era. The accounts of travel made valuable sources of information for the people of Japan. Japan was a latecomer to imperialism; as the Japanese Empire grew, so did its interest in the Pacific Islands. The travellers often projected romanticised views of the Islands but found themselves confronted with the realities. The project delves into the subtle nuances between conflicting emotions and responses. These impressions tell us the Japanese perceptions of the Pacific Islands (or mis-perceptions!). More crucially, the travellers’ accounts tell us the fears and anxiety the Japanese had within themselves in positioning Japan as an Asian and a Pacific nation and an ethnic group. 

    • Comparative history of textbooks:

    My PhD thesis conferred in 2007 and published as a monograph in 2011, was a comparative study of Japan and South African history textbooks and education. The thesis argued that History textbooks published in nearly uninterrupted single-party governments between ca. 1945 and 1995 presented race and ethnicity as central themes to cement and divide the nations, mainly through the presentation of hegemonic and subordinate ethnic identities in the textbooks. This study compared educational bureaucracy, as well as the analyses of the textbooks. Beyond the superficial difference between the two countries are significant similarities in the complex interplay of domestic and international socio-political impact that controversy over History textbooks created. My comparative perspective has cultivated my sensitivity to approach Japanese textbooks issue not only a local but also a regional concern with profound impact on neighbouring nations. My PhD thesis generated one book chapter and four peer-reviewed articles in journal articles. It won a publication award by Georg Eckert School Textbook Research Centre for the innovative angle and contribution to the study of education history. The publisher of the monograph is V&R Unipress (Vandenhoeck & Reprecht) based in Germany.   


    Collaboration and supervision:

    I welcome opportunities to supervise postgraduate students (MA and PhDs) and to collaborate with internal and external researchers. The fields I can contribute most are: histories of (East) Asia and Pacific Island countries, social and cultural history (esp. of education), and travel-writing. Please write to me with a brief description of your plan and research interests.

    Publications in USP Electronic Research Repository

    Postgraduate Supervision: Completed

    • 2014-17 Dinesh Naidu, “Indo-Fijian Students and Enrolment in History: Perceptions and Realities from Case Studies of High Schools in Nausori”, Master of Arts
    • 2013-15 Rebecca Pratt, “Nineteenth Century Women Travel Writers on Fiji”, Master of Arts
    • 2013-14 Allison Ramsay, “Challenges to a House of Treasures: A Cultural History of the Fiji Museum”, Master of Arts

    Changing Histories: Japanese and South African Textbooks in Comparison (1945–1995), Göttingen, Germany, V&R Unipress: June, 2011.

    Peer-reviewed journal articles    

      • *2018 “Better Late than Never? Mizuki Shigeru’s Trans-war Reflections on Journeys to New Britain Island”, Japan Review, 32.
      • 2017 “Pacific Islanders Experience the Pacific War: Informants as Historians and Story Tellers”, Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 15: 2, 2. ISSN 1557-4660 (Online). 
      • 2017 “From Memory Making to Money Making? Japanese Travel Writers' Impressions of Cross-Cultural Interactions in the southwestern Pacific Islands Battle sites, 1961-2007”, Pacific Historical Review 86 (3): 443-471. 
      • 2017 “The Awakening of Historical Consciousness of a Journalist: Sasa Yukie’s Pacific Island Journeys of 2005–2006”, Japanese Studies, 37: 1, 71-88. ISSN 1037-1397 (Print), 1469-9338 (Online).
      • 2016 “Self-promotion of a Maverick Travel Writer: Suzuki Tsunenori and his Southern Pacific Islands Travelogue, Nanyō tanken jikki”, Studies in Travel Writing, 20:4, 378-391. ISSN 1364-5145 (Print), 1755-7550 (Online).
      • 2015 “Political Economy of History Textbook Publishing: Towards a Historical Enquiry of Commercial Imperatives”, Yesterday and Today, 14, 18-40. By invitation. ISSN 2223-0386 (Print).
      • 2015 “Dialogues with Shadows: Reflections on Identity, History and Travel”, Life Writing, 12:1, 95-105. ISSN 1448-4528 (Print), 1751-2964 (Online).
      • 2015 Co-authored with Elena Kolesova. “Talking Past Each Other? A Comparative Study of the Descriptions of the Russo-Japanese War in Japanese and Russian History textbooks, ca. 1997-2010”, Aoyama Journal of International Studies:2, 5-39. ISSN 2188-1960 (Print).
      • 2014 “Tales of Two Fijis: Early 1960s’ Japanese Travel Writing by Kanetaka Kaoru and Kita Morio”, Journal of Pacific History, 49:4, 440-456. ISSN 0022-3344 (Print), 1469-9605 (Online).
      • 2014 “Pacific Islands Women in the Eyes of the Travel Journalist Kanetaka Kaoru: Impressions from her First Journey to the Pacific Islands in 1961”, Pacific Asia Inquiry, 5:1, 130-144. ISSN 2377-0929 (Online).
      • 2013 “Ukiya Tôjirô and is Motorcycle Journey in August 1957: Crystallising Ambitions and Identity”, Studies in Travel Writing, 17:4, 384-397. ISSN 1364-5145 (Print), 1755-7550 (Online).
      • 2010 “Narrative Strategies of Japanese Middle-school History Textbooks regarding Japanese Ethnic Origins and Cultural Identity”, The Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society, 2:1, 97-112. ISSN: 2041-6938 (Print), 2041-6946 (Online).
      • 2008 “The Political Economy of the Textbook in Japan: With Particular Focus on Middle-school History Textbooks, ca. 1945-1995”, Internationale Schulbuchforschung (International Textbook Research), 30:1, 487-514. ISSN: 0172-8237 (Print).
      • 2002 “An Oral History Project: Recording Recollections of the School Boycotts c. 1984-1987 in Grahamstown, South Africa”, The Australasian Review of African Studies, 24:1, 38-50. ISSN: 1447-8420 (Print), 2203-5184 (Online).

    Book chapter

    2008 “George McCall Theal and South African History Textbooks: Enduring Influence of Settler Historiography in Descriptions of the Fifth ‘Frontier War’ 1818-19” in Orb and Sceptre: Studies in British Imperialism and its Legacies, in Honour of Norman Etherington, Peter Limb, ed. (Melbourne, Monash University ePress), 06.01-06.15. ISBN: 978-0-9803616-6-7 (print), 978-0-9803616-7-4 (e-book). 

    Reviewed by Richard Scully, Eras, 10, (2008). 

    Conference Proceedings

    • *2018 “Toward a Future of Travel Writing and History: Collecting, Researching and Reflecting on Southwestern Pacific Islanders’ Experiences of the Pacific War”, The 23rd Nichibunken International Symposium, Japanese Studies Down Under: History, Politics, Literature and Art 南太平洋から見る日本研究:歴史、政治、文学、芸術, University of Otago, New Zealand, November, 2016.
    • 2011 Co-authored with Elena Kolesova, “White-washing and Brain-washing: A Comparative Study of the Narrative Strategies and Descriptions of the Russo-Japanese War in Japanese and Russian History Textbooks, ca. 1997-2010”, New Zealand Asian Studies Society International Conference, Massey University, 2-4 July 2011.

    Publication for general public

    • “Shogun and Samurai” and “Warriors and Emperors” in Historical Atlas, Geoffrey Warwo, chief consultant, (Sydney: Simon and Schuster Australia, 2008), 132-133 and 254-255 respectively.

    Book reviews

    • Review of Japan's Motorcycle Wars, by Jeffrey Alexander. International Journal of Motorcycle Studies, vol. 8, no. 2 (Fall), 2012,
    • June A. Gordon, Hidenori Fujita, Takehiko Kariya and Gerald LeTendre (eds.), Challenges to Japanese Education: Economics, Reform, and Human Rights. (New York, 2010). Pacific Affairs, vol. 84, no. 1 (2011): 161-163.
    • Yoshiko Nozaki. War, Memory, Nationalism and Education in Postwar Japan, 1945-2007: The Japanese history textbook controversy and Ienaga Saburo’s court challenges. (Abingdon, 2008). The Japanese Studies, 30, no. 2 (2010): 305-306.
    • Linda K. Menton, Noren W. Lush, Eileen H. Tamura and Chance I. Gusukuma. The Rise of Modern Japan (Honolulu, 2003), Japanese Studies, 26, no. 1 (2006): 116-117.
    • Frank J. Schwartz and Susan J. Pharr (eds.). The State of Civil Society in Japan. (Cambridge, 2003), Japanese Studies, 26, no. 2 (2006): 247-249.
    • Mari Yamamoto. Grassroots Pacifism in Post-War Japan: The rebirth of a nation (London, 2004), Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, 4, no. 1 (2006): 109-111.
    • Saleem Badat, Nico Cloete, Teboho Moja and Pundy Pillay. National Policy and a Regional Response in South African Higher Education (Oxford, 2004), The Australasian Review of African Studies, 25, no. 1 (2005): 89-91.
    • Various Contributors. Kyôkasho kara kesareru ‘Sensô’ (‘Wars That Get Deleted From Textbooks) (Tokyo, 2004) and Christopher Barnard, Language, Ideology and Japanese History Textbooks (London, 2003), Internasionale Schulbuchforschung (International Textbook Research), 27 (2005): 1-6.
    • Richard J. Samuels. Machiavelli’s Children: Leaders and their legacies in Italy and Japan (Ithaca, 2003), Japanese Studies, 25, no. 3 (2005): 315-317.


    • Supervisory translator.

    Greg Dvorak. “Who Closed the Sea? Archipelagoes of Amnesia Between the United States and Japan”, originally published, Pacific Historical Review,  83: 2, 350–372. ISSN 0030-8684.

    Japanese translation to appear in 2018.

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