Rikki Kersten's picture

Rikki Kersten

Honorary Professor at the Australia-Japan Research Centre


BA (Adelaide), BA Hon (Adelaide) and DPhil (Oxon)

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 6125 7067

Room: Old Canberra House (OCH) 3.81


Rikki has been educated in Wollongong, Adelaide and Oxford, with plenty of long stays in Japan at various tertiary institutions along the way, notably at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Social Science, and Keio University. She spent five years in the Australian Foreign Service, completing a posting in the Political Section of the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, before returning to academic life. Rikki has taught modern Japanese history at Sydney and Leiden Universities, and has served as Research Manager and subsequently Director of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney. She joined the ANU in 2006 as Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific, and Dean of the Faculty of Asian Studies.

Career highlights

Winning the VICI large research grant from the Netherlands Scientific Research Organization with Prof Axel Schneider in 2004 to research Historical Consciousness and the Future in China and Japan; founding the Modern East Asian Research Centre with Axel Schneider at the University of Leiden in 2005; founding the Australia-Netherlands Research Collaboration focussing on the study of Southeast Asia in 2006; posting to the Australian Embassy in Tokyo 1988 – 1991.

Research interests

Modern Japanese History; political thought; foreign policy, security policy, the US-Japan alliance, the US ‘rebalancing’ policy, Australia-Japan relations

Rikki is attracted to the intangible realm of political thought, particularly the history of political ideas in modern Japan. She aspires to communicate and analyse Japanese political thought for non-Japanese audiences, and to integrate Japanese thinking into global scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. She works extensively with primary sources in the vernacular. Her main areas of research interest are: democracy and fascism; debates over war apologies and war guilt in Japan; contemporary Japanese politics and foreign policy; historical and philosophical revisionism. Her second area of specialisation is Japanese security policy, including Australia-Japan security relations and the US-Japan alliance.

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