Curriculum Vitaes

James Farrer

  (ファーラー ジェームス)

Profile Information

Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Department of Liberal Arts, Sophia University
(Concurrent)Chairperson of the Master's(Doctoral) Program in Global Studies
Ph.D.(University of Chicago)
M.A.(University of Chicago)
B.A.(University of North Carolina)

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I am an urban sociologist whose ethnographic studies have centered on the social and cultural contact zones of Asian global cities, investigating their complex flows of peoples, influences, and resources. My major research projects have covered: (1) sexuality in urban China and Japan, including youth sexuality and courtship, extramarital sexuality, and interethnic dating; (2) the lives of Western and Japanese expatriates living in Shanghai; (3) contemporary and historic nightlife scenes in Shanghai and Tokyo; (4) foodways in urban China and Japan; (5) the globalization of Japanese restaurant cuisine on six continents.

Major Research History


Major Papers

  • James Farrer
    Food, Culture & Society, 1-17, Oct 5, 2023  Peer-reviewedLead author
    The concept of social sustainability presents many questions for food studies, both about how communities sustain foodways, and how foodways sustain communities. Based on an ethnographic study of restaurants in a single Tokyo neighborhood, this research focuses on how commercial restaurant scenes in a busy area of Tokyo serve as social infrastructure, supporting community life. First, they are an economic resource for employers, workers, and customers, an accessible, though risky, point of entry into business ownership for disadvantaged or resource-poor people. Secondly, eateries are a resource for social organization and networking, that is, spaces in which varieties of social capital can be created and deployed. Thirdly, neighborhood eateries are infrastructure for political mobilization both in the formal organization of local merchant associations but also for informal and oppositional social movements. Overall, the research shows how urban neighborhood restaurant scenes may serve as a “place framing” device through which a community defines and spatially locates what is worthwhile in community life. (8497 words)
  • Rebecca Babirye, James Farrer
    Sexualities, 26(4) 486-501, May 4, 2023  Peer-reviewedInvitedCorresponding author
    The most significant and lasting contributions of Ken Plummer to the sociology of sexuality have been his work on sexual storytelling. Best represented in Plummer’s 1995 book Telling Sexual Stories: Power, Change and Social Worlds, this approach to sexuality made two key points. One is that sexual storytelling is fundamental to the formation of individual sexual identities and a process of sexual self-discovery. The second is that sexual storytelling is a key social process in a broader sexual politics and struggles for “intimate citizenship.” Plummer’s work has significance, however, far beyond studies a simple model of sexual identity formation. Building upon a review of the research literature citing Plummer as well our own research, this essay explores three dimensions of Plummer’s narrative sociology that include but also take us beyond sexuality studies. One is Plummer’s contribution to the concept of “storytelling” as anti-foundationalist social ontology practice. The second is narrative sociology as humanistic methodology. The third is the significance of the narrative method for a dialogic pedagogy, not only in teaching about sexuality but also in other areas of social life.
  • James Farrer
    Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 63(3) 396-410, Mar, 2022  Peer-reviewedInvitedLead author
    Neighbourhood gastronomy, the agglomeration of restaurants and smaller eateries in residential urban areas, contributes to the lives of residents and visitors economically, culturally, and socially. Since winter 2020, neighbourhood gastronomy in Asian cities has been severely disrupted by COVID, compounded by many other long-term stressors. In urban Japan these stresses include gentrification, the aging of proprietors, urban renewal, and corporatization of gastronomy. Empirically, this paper discusses how independent restaurants in Tokyo contribute to community life by supporting grassroots creative industries, small business opportunities, meaningful artisanal work, convivial social spaces, local cultural heritage, and a human-scale built environment. The study uses intensive single-site urban ethnography to discuss how restaurateurs face immediate and long-term crises at the community level. By using the “neighborhood as method,” a concept of sustainable neighbourhood gastronomy is developed that should be applicable in other urban contexts.
  • Susanne Wessendorf, James Farrer
    Comparative Migration Studies, 9(28) 1-17, Dec, 2021  Peer-reviewedInvited
    In global cities such as London and Tokyo, there are neighbourhoods where ethnic, religious, cultural and other forms of diversity associated with migration are commonplace and others where migrants are regarded as unusual or even out-of-place. In both types of contexts, migrant-run eateries are spaces in which people of various backgrounds interact. In some contexts, eateries may serve as ‘third places’ in which regular forms of intercultural conviviality occur, yet in others, interactions are civil but fleeting. This comparative paper is based on findings from two ethnographic neighbourhood studies in West Tokyo and East London. The Tokyo neighbourhood of Nishi-Ogikubo is one of emerging diversity, in which migrant entrepreneurship is rather new and uncommon, whereas East London has seen immigration for decades and migrant-run businesses are so common as to be taken-for-granted. In Tokyo the Japanese norms of ‘drinking communication’ in small eating and drinking spots inevitably involve migrant proprietors and their customers more deeply in social interactions. In East London, in contrast, intercultural interactions are much more commonplace in public and semi-public spaces, but in the case of migrant-run eateries, they are characterized by somewhat superficial encounters. This paper contributes to scholarship on the role of third places for intercultural relations, highlighting the importance of established cultural norms of interaction in specific third places. By comparing two vastly different contexts regarding the extent of immigration-related diversity, it demonstrates how encounters between residents of different backgrounds are deeply embedded in cultural norms of interaction in these places, and how migrant entrepreneurs in each context adapt to these established norms.
  • James Farrer, Chuanfei Wang
    Asian Anthropology, 20(1) 12-29, Jan 2, 2021  Peer-reviewedLead author
    Culinary borrowings are so common as to seem trivial, and yet they are consequential for many of the actors concerned. People’s livelihoods, professional status, and social identity may be tied to their stake in the defining boundaries of culinary cultures. When dominant groups or powerful actors such as multinational corporate chains adopt or reinvent the cuisine of weaker and marginal groups, it may be regarded as cultural appropriation. However, the definition of the situation becomes more complicated when multiple weak and marginal actors compete over ownership of a cuisine. This article discusses how Japanese and other Asian migrant actors participate in grassroots culinary politics surrounding definitions and uses of Japanese cuisine in the context of a Japanese food boom in Europe. It shows how the “borrowed power” of one migrant group may threaten the status and even livelihoods of the foundational stakeholders in a culinary field.
  • James Farrer
    Food Culture & Society, 24(1) 49-65, Jan, 2021  Peer-reviewedInvited
    In postwar Japan vast black market districts surrounded urban commuter train stations with warrens of small-scale retail, food and alcohol vendors. Most were bulldozed during the period of high economic growth and replaced with modern shopping centers. Only a few of these dense, lively pedestrian alleyways survived into the 21st century, including the one called "Willow Alley" described in this paper. Recently there has been a widespread revival of these vintage yokocho. Still as spaces for drinking and eating, the forced intimacy in these cramped interstitial spaces fosters sociability and association among strangers, but with changes in recent years. One trend is the opening up of windowless doors and walls and the use of the alleyway itself as a space of eating and drinking. Another is their transformation from semi-private male-oriented bars to more welcoming mixed-gender venues. In general, the case study shows how both historical legacies and the spatial organization and scale of public drinking streets influence the forms of sociability and community that are sustained there.
  • James Farrer
    Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 18(18: no. 13) 1-13, Sep 14, 2020  Peer-reviewedInvited
    Globally, independent restaurants have been dealt a double blow by COVID-19. Restaurant staff face the risk of infection, and restaurants have been among the businesses hardest hit by urban lockdowns. With fewer resources than corporate chains, small independent restaurants are particularly vulnerable to an extended economic downturn. This paper looks at how independent restaurants owners in Tokyo have coped with the pandemic both individually and as members of larger communities. Both government and community support have been key to sustaining these small businesses and their employees during this crisis.
  • Yuk Wah Chan, James Farrer
    Asian Anthropology, 20(1) 1-11, Jun 24, 2020  Peer-reviewed
    This introduction outlines the conceptual framework of the special issue. Culinary politics involves a contest over the social organization and cultural meanings of food by a variety of actors: both civil and state, the powerful and the grassroots. In particular, we consider food governance as a form of culinary politics entailing a two-way traffic, in which policies and regulations are set by state actors, while the responses of civil actors often reshape the foodscape and complicate the outcome of food policies. Food governance also points to the reshaping and contestation of collective and individual food identities, and how different power hierarchies can be challenged through acts of food-making. While food is an enduring cultural concern in human life, food governance and culinary politics should be two important concepts for researchers to engage with when examining individuals' soft skills of food-making and the exercise of soft power through food.
  • Farrer, James
    Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 47(10) 2359-2375, 2020  Peer-reviewedInvited
    Migrants do not simply move across physical spaces but within institutionalised social fields, including occupational fields. This ethnographic study takes a globalised culinary field - the social and economic space of fine restaurant dining - as an example of an emergent transnational social field. Focusing on culinary migrants to Shanghai, it shows how the institutionalisation, professionalisation and globalisation of the culinary field create new opportunities for the mobility of workers. Transnational mobility can be advantageous to the career mobility of culinary workers at all levels, from line cooks, to head chefs, and further to celebrity chefs building global brands. More generally, the mobility of skilled labour is shown to depend on the transnationalisation of the fields in which skills are socially defined, and migrants themselves are key players in instantiating and expanding a field.
  • Farrer, James
    positions: east asia cultures critique, 23(1) 59-90, 2015  Peer-reviewedInvited
    The MIT Visualizing Cultures controversy is linked to a series of anti-Japanese street protests in China during the previous year. As a comparative analysis of these two very different types of protests, this article produces a reading of protest through a series of linked contexts of reception, or interconnected interpretive communities. To elaborate this idea, this article focuses on one of these events, the anti-Japanese protest of April 2005, and in conclusion, compares the reception of this event to the reactions to Visualizing Cultures website. Both events followed a familiar twentieth-century pattern of Chinese youth reacting against perceived insults to China in the realm of international affairs, accusing the Chinese state of weakness in the face of foreign insults. Like the MIT webpage controversy, however, the Shanghai protest unfolded in the borderless context of global media coverage, and also in the particular local and transnational contexts of Shanghai, a rising global city with a large resident foreign population, including the largest Japanese population in any city in the world outside Japan. The interpretations of the protest thus developed across a series of interlinked contexts of reception in Shanghai, in Japan, and further afield. In particular, the article discusses reactions in the Japanese community in Shanghai, and subsequent reactions of Japanese public intellectuals writing about the protest from Japan. Finally, as the events of protest become embedded in opposing nationalist narratives, the article asks how they can be brought back into the classroom, and how the social space of the classroom can serve as an alternative interpretive community for the exploration of both historical memory and the meanings of protest.
  • Farrer, James, Greenspan, Anna
    Global Networks, 15(2) 141-160, 2015  Peer-reviewed
    This qualitative research documents the educational strategies of international migrants to Shanghai who are attempting to raise their children as cosmopolitans through immersion in local Chinese schools. We distinguish this localizing educational strategy from the established network of international schools designed to serve the families of corporate expatriates. Instead, our research subjects consist of self-initiated expatriates, or middling transnationals', who have chosen to prioritize immersion in the language and culture of China by sending their children to local schools. This localized, or Sinocentric, model exposes non-Chinese children to a challenging and nationalistic Chinese curriculum. Our analysis of these practices as a form of cosmopolitan education challenges both the goal of teaching a universal and placeless ethical cosmopolitanism and the assumption that a meaningful cosmopolitan education must take place in the idealized setting of a liberal cosmopolitan school system. We also highlight the difficulties families face in this approach, describing this as an entangled cosmopolitanism', an enriching but uncomfortable engagement with both local and home-country educational cultures.
  • Farrer, James
    Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 23(4) 397-420, 2014  Peer-reviewed
    This paper describes the policies of the People's Republic of China (PRC) for attracting skilled migrants and uses ethnographic fieldwork to discuss the actual employment situations of non-Chinese skilled migrants. Employing the concept of social fields, it describes skilled migrants in three employment sectors in the PRC: (1) Chinese academic and research institutions, (2) managerial work in multinational corporations, and (3) skilled culinary work in international restaurants. The discussion shows that ideas of "skill" are constructed with reference to cultural and ethnic traits perceived as assets in particular economic fields or ethnic capital. Moreover, migrants' ability to adjust to their professional contexts depends both on their cultural and ethnic capital and on their structural positions in the relevant field of work.
  • Farrer, James
    Sexualities, 16(1-2) 12-29, 2013  Peer-reviewedInvited
  • Farrer, James, Suo, Gefei, Tsuchiya, Haruka, Sun, Zhongxin
    Sexuality & Culture, 16(3) 263-286, 2012  Peer-reviewed
  • James Farrer
    Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(5) 747-764, 2011  Peer-reviewed
    Beginning in the 1980s, bars and dance clubs re-emerged as important zones of intercultural interaction within Shanghai, particularly for expatriates with otherwise little casual social contact with Chinese citizens. Based on interviews with bar- and clubowners and customers, and on field-notes from participant observation over the last 15 years, this historical ethnography describes the changing organisation of the ethnosexual contact zone of the nightlife. Nightlife is a context in which casual interactions among foreign travellers, sojourners and settlers and the increasingly mobile People's Republic of China (PRC) citizens are common and relatively spontaneous. Despite the complexities of these interactions, the ethnographic evidence here points to the continued relevance of postcolonial racial categories in which a struggle for gendered status within the nightscape is described as a competition between a dominant but declining Global Whiteness and a rising Global Chinese racial identity. This mapping of a fractious global nightscape challenges the idea of a seamless transnational capitalist class, and instead points to racial and gendered sexual competition as an important feature of the leisure culture of transnational mobile elites.
  • James Farrer
    Sexualities, 13(1) 69-95, Feb, 2010  Peer-reviewed
    Since the early 1980s western men have been coming to China to work and live in coastal cities such as Shanghai, and many have become involved in sexual relationships with Chinese women. Using the framework of sexual capital and sexual fields, this article examines the changes in the sexual status of white western men in their relationships with Chinese women over the past 30 years. A historical perspective shows how the political economy of the interracial sexual field is conditioned by broader changes in the economic and social status of foreigners in China. Western men in China experience their foreign masculinity as both empowering and marginalizing, a kind of 'alien sexual capital' that is simultaneously exploitable but estranged. Chinese women find that they can invest in specific forms of sexual capital relevant to this field of interracial relationships, but also feel alienated from social and sexual relations with Chinese men. Despite some psychological stress, both for men and women, sexual capital produced in this interracial field is convertible to other forms of social and cultural capital relevant to life in the global city.
  • James Farrer
    Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(8) 1211-1228, 2010  Peer-reviewedInvited
    As in the early twentieth century, Shanghai has again become a site for Western settlement. This paper focuses on case studies of long-term Western settlersthose in the city more than five yearsand how they situate themselves in the city through their 'narratives of emplacement' or stories of a personalised relationship to the city. Settler stories reference both a postcolonial nostalgia for the lifestyles of the 1930s Shanghailanders, and a newer post-socialist model of cosmopolitan citizenship for mobile urban elites, related to the state-sponsored ideal of the 'New Shanghainese.' Taken as a whole, expatriate narratives of emplacement construct an idealised image of a culturally cosmopolitan, locally integrated and economically successful immigrant entrepreneur. Few settlers may actually live up to this ideal, but these narrative strategies allow settlers to construct imagined links to a place and polity that substitute for more substantive forms of urban citizenship, while excluding other categories of migrants.
  • James Farrer, Jeff Gavin
    Cyberpsychology Behav. Soc. Netw., 12(4) 407-412, 2009  Peer-reviewedInvited
    This study examines the experiences of past and present members of a popular Japanese online dating site in order to explore the extent to which Western-based theories of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and the development of online relationships are relevant to the Japanese online dating experience. Specifically, it examines whether social information processing theory (SIPT) is applicable to Japanese online dating interactions, and how and to what extent Japanese daters overcome the limitations of CMC through the use of contextual and other cues. Thirty-six current members and 27 former members of Japan completed an online survey. Using issue-based procedures for grounded theory analysis, we found strong support for SIPT. Japanese online daters adapt their efforts to present and acquire social information using the cues that the online dating platform provides, although many of these cues are specific to Japanese social context.
  • Farrer James
    China - An International Journal, 6(1) 1-17, Mar, 2008  Peer-reviewed
    “Nightlife” has reemerged in China since the “opening and reform policies” of 1978. Genres of contemporary Chinese nightlife include bars, dance clubs, karaoke clubs and saunas, all of which have influenced by transnational flows of investments, ideas and people. Nightlife is an important space for the study of Chinese social stratification and the study of sexual subcultures in Chinese cities. Nightlife is thus an area in which we can study the transnational processes of cultural change in China, while examining the possibilities of individual agency, resistance and creativity within these organizing structures.
  • Farrer James
    Asian Studies Review, 32(1) 7-29, Mar, 2008  Peer-reviewedInvited
    Economic migrants from wealthy industrial countries are arriving in increasingly large numbers in the rising “global cities” of the developing world, including Shanghai. A portion of these are settling long-term, setting up households and forming communities of long-term migrants. Within this group, intermarriage with local residents is common, serving as a pathway of incorporation into local society. This paper presents five case studies of Europeans and Americans married to Chinese and living in Shanghai to show how the local and transnational social contexts of these new migration patterns influence partner choices and marital exchanges.
  • James Farrer, Haruka Tsuchiya, Bart Bagrowicz
    Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25(1) 169-188, Feb, 2008  Peer-reviewed
    This article uses qualitative interviews with 135 Japanese in their 20s to discover the meanings and purposes they associate with tsukiau ("going steady") relationships. Relating our findings to Sternberg's triangular theory of love, we find that all three components of intimacy, commitment, and passion are emphasized in tsukiau relationships, though in culturally specific ways. The findings suggest that in a society in which people marry later than before, dating relationships can be a new type of comfort zone for young Japanese adults redefining the boundaries of the "inner" and "outer" self, often replacing or displacing family ties as the context for displaying a backstage "true self." The tsukiau relationship thus represents a transitional life stage for heterosexual Japanese young people.
  • Farrer James
    Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, 36(4) 10-44, Mar, 2007  Peer-reviewedLead author
    Sexual politics on China’s internet entered a new age with the “Mu Zimei phenomenon” in 2003. With the publication of Mu Zimei's sex diary and the controversy surrounding, millions of Chinese “netizens” became involved in a debate over sexual rights that involve a wide variety of claims and counter claims, including claims of freedom of expression, social progress, natural rights, property rights, women's rights, rights of privacy, and community responsibilities. The cases of Mu Zimei and subsequent women bloggers point out how sexual rights discourse should be understood as an adversarial dialogue among a variety of social actors using a variety of discursive frameworks, a view consistent with a dialogic conception of sexual politics on the internet.
  • Zhongxin Sun, James Farrer, Kyung-hee Choi
    China Perspectives, 6401(64) 2-12, Mar, 2006  Peer-reviewed
  • J Farrer, ZX Sun
    China Journal, 50(50) 1-36, Jul, 2003  Peer-reviewed
    Extramarital affairs have become standard fare on Chinese television and in discussions of public morality in China. Chinese journalists and academics have related an apparent increase in extramarital affairs to the commercial values of the money economy and a general moral vacuum in contemporary society, but there has been little scholarship devoted to the social and cultural construction of the affair by those directly involved. Based on 69 interviews with Shanghai residents involved in extramarital affairs, this paper discusses how ordinary Shanghai people experience and describe extramarital affairs in the reform era.

Major Misc.

  • James Farrer
    GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 29(4) 507-510, Oct, 2023  Lead author
  • James Farrer
    Gastronomica, 23(1) iv-ix, Feb 1, 2023  InvitedLead author
  • James Farrer
    Gastronomica: the Journal of Food Studies, 22(4) 49-53, Dec, 2022  Lead author
  • James Farrer
    Japanese Studies, 36(3) 399-401, 2016  
    上智大学研究機構Festival―研究企画・研究成果報告書, 36-38, Jul, 2010  
    Culinary soft power can be defined as the acknowledged attractiveness and popular appeal of food culture that adheres to a nation, region or locality. Culinary soft power has two basic dimensions. One is the status of a cuisine. The other is the popularity. Both are in principle relatively easy to measure. In sum, both quantity and quality matter, giving China, for example, a reputation for exporting both cheap eats and high cuisine. China thus seems to have acquired culinary soft power largely through the efforts of ethnic culinary entrepreneurs.

Major Books and Other Publications

  • James Farrer, David Wank (Role: Joint author, 1-390)
    University of Hawai'i Press, May 31, 2023 (ISBN: 082489426X)  Refereed
    With more than 150,000 Japanese restaurants around the world, Japanese cuisine has become truly global. Through the transnational culinary mobilities of migrant entrepreneurs, workers, ideas and capital, Japanese cuisine spread and adapted to international tastes. But this expansion is also entangled in culinary politics, ranging from authenticity claims and status competition among restaurateurs and consumers to societal racism, immigration policies, and soft power politics that have shaped the transmission and transformation of Japanese cuisine. Such politics has involved appropriation, oppression, but also cooperation across ethnic lines. Ultimately, the restaurant is a continually reinvented imaginary of Japan represented in concrete form to consumers by restaurateurs, cooks, and servers of varied nationalities and ethnicities who act as cultural intermediaries.
  • Farrer, James (James C.)
    Routledge, 2019 (ISBN: 9780815382638)  Refereed
  • Farrer, James (James C.) (Role: Editor, 1-248)
    Palgrave Macmillan, Aug 16, 2015 (ISBN: 1137522283, 9781137522283)  Refereed
    This book provides a framework for understanding the global flows of cuisine both into and out of Asia and describes the development of transnational culinary fields connecting Asia to the broader world. Individual chapters provide historical and ethnographic accounts of the people, places, and activities involved in Asia's culinary globalization.
  • Farrer, James (James C.), Field, Andrew David (Role: Joint author, 1-280)
    The University of Chicago Press, 2015 (ISBN: 9780226262741)  Refereed
  • Farrer James (Role: Editor, 1-300)
    Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture, Dec, 2010  Refereed
    The papers in this online collection are the outcome of the symposium on "Globalization, food and social identities in the Pacific region" held at Sophia University on Feb. 21-22, 2009. Although the globalization of food production and consumption is a phenomenon as old as agriculture itself, the increased speed and scale of transnational flows of food products, foodways and food producers has resulted in a greater interaction among cultures and increased cross-border dependencies for supplies.
  • Farrer James
    University of Chicago Press, Mar, 2002 (ISBN: 0226238717)  Refereed
    More and more men and women in China these days are having sex before marriage, creating a new youth sex culture based on romance, leisure, and free choice. The Chinese themselves describe these changes as an "opening up" in response to foreign influences and increased Westernization. Farrer explores these changes by tracing the basic elements in talk about sex and sexuality in Shanghai. He then shows how Chinese youth act out the sometimes-contradictory meanings of sex in the new market society. (Taken from the back cover)

Major Presentations

  • James Farrer
    IMISCOE Annual Conference, Jul 4, 2024, IMISCOE
    From performing artists to engineers and athletes, migrants are not only moving around the world as participants in global industries and cultural worlds but are also among the principal agents who make, shape, and remake these industries and worlds. Global cultural industries can be thought of as a type of migration infrastructure that facilitates the mobility of skilled migrants, but more than this they are assemblages of human and non-human agents working at various scales to produce and reproduce complex social and cultural worlds inhabited by these actors. This paper looks at the movement of Japanese culinary migrants to Europe and the creation of an expansive Japanese culinary infrastructure in Europe. This case study serves as an example of how migrants helped create a cultural industry, as well as a cultural world, a social space that gives meaning to participation both by producers and consumers, in the form of hierarchies of taste, styles of dining, and sources of gustatory inspiration and enjoyment. This industry, largely created by Japanese migrants, subsequently serves as a platform for further migration by non-Japanese people and institutions. The research looks at the participation of migrants and many other actors in the creation of a Japanese culinary infrastructure in Europe, focusing on the Japanese enclave in Düsseldorf as a central locus of this production. The paper begins with the creation of a Japanese culinary infrastructure in the 1960s and continues with examples of how this infrastructure has facilitated the cultural and business activities of a variety of Asian migrants well into the twenty-first century.
  • James Farrer
    Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Mar 16, 2024
  • James Farrer
    The International Conference in Japanese Studies: Iaponica Brunensia 2023, Sep 16, 2023, Masaryk University Department of Japanese Studies  Invited
  • James Farrer, Lenka Vyletalova
    Japanese Cultural Center of the Palacky University, public lecture, Sep 13, 2023, Palacky University (Univerzity Palackého v Olomouci)  Invited
    Japonská kuchyně se stala opravdu světovou - podává se ve více než 150 000 restauracích mimo Japonsko - od jednoduchých jídelen až po chrámy “fine dining”. Největší rozmach zaznamenala v posledních čtyřiceti letech, ale kořeny konzumace japonských kulinářských výrobků jakožto něčeho módního jsou mnohem starší. Prof. James Farrer ze Sophia University v Tokiu a dr. Lenka Vyleťalová z UP se podělí o bohatá etnografická data ze šesti kontinentů a přiblíží, jak v průběhu jednoho a půl století japonská kuchyně dobyla svět. Přednášející jsou autory kapitol v nedávno vydaném svazku The Global Japanese Restaurant: Mobilities, Imaginaries, and Politics.
  • James Farrer
    2022 Global City Roundtable, Oct 28, 2022, The Education University of Hong Kong  Invited
  • James Farrer
    Conference on Food and Sustainability: Local food system, food policy and global engagement,, Aug 12, 2022, Sustainable Ecological Ethical Development Foundation (SEED) and Southeast Asia Research Centre, City University of Hong Kong  Invited
  • James Farrer
    Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Mar 27, 2022
    Japanese foodways have long been characterized by local diversity, unique products, relatively small-scale production, and attention to culinary artisanry, but all these features are endangered by multiple crises, with many exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan is not unique in these challenges and can be regarded as a test case for how local food actors can adapt to crises and stressors such workforce aging, labor shortages, mass tourism, over-fishing, animal diseases (such as swine flu and avian influenza), changing tastes, climate change, import dependency, and, most recently, the pandemic. The panelists in this roundtable all have conducted long-term ethnographic research on Japanese foodways and the Japanese food system, including agriculture and fisheries, school lunches, food education, neighborhood restaurants, culinary tourism, and the careers and activities of chefs. These ethnographic studies center on concrete food practices, and the discussion will focus on how actors in these sites cope with the crises of the pandemic and emerging post-pandemic era. One focus is COVID, but we have found that COVID is often only one contributing and exacerbating factor in the longer-term crises and stresses faced by food actors. We will discuss how the pandemic impacted agricultural producers, tourism professionals, small businesses, culinary workers, food educators, and other food actors. We will hear from each of the panelists how the actors they studied have sustained local foodways and how they have failed to do so. We hope this discussion will contribute to a deeper understanding of the linkages between economic, environmental, and social sustainability in Japanese foodways. Individually the topics we will cover in the discussion are chicken farming (Ben Schrager), wine tourism (Chuanfei Wang), oyster farming (Shingo Hamada), vegetable farming (Greg de St. Maurice), whaling (Akamine Jun), and food education (Stephanie Assmann). Each discussant will briefly describe their fieldwork and discuss crises and responses by local actors. This format will allow us to use the discussion to identify crises and responses that cut across ethnographic sites. Ideas from the online audience will be welcome and the goal is to stimulate discussion of the nature of food crises.
  • James Farrer
    Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China, Princeton University, Sep 27, 2021, Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China  Invited
  • James Farrer
    2021 Joint Annual Conference Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), Agriculture, Food & Human Values Society (AFHVS), Canadian Association for Food Studies (CAFS), The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN), Jun 9, 2021, New York University
  • James Farrer, Chuanfei Wang
    Modern Chinese Foodways Conference, Apr 23, 2021, Emory University  Invited
  • James Farrer
    Association for Asian Studies Virtual Annual Conference, Mar 23, 2021, Association for Asian Studies
  • Building City Knowledge from Neighborhoods, ARI-NUS/SEANNET Conference, Mar 11, 2021, National University of Singapore  Invited
  • James Farrer
    ChinaWhite Project, Feb 9, 2021, University of Amsterdam  Invited
  • James Farrer
    Association for Asian Studies (AAS-in-Asia), Aug 31, 2020, Association for Asian Studies

Major Research Projects


Major Academic Activities


Major Social Activities


Major Media Coverage

  • Tokyo Broadcasting System, Matsuko no shiranai sekai (Matsuko`s unknown world), Tokyo, Jun 25, 2024 TV or radio program
    The "World of Nishi-Ogikubo" was broadcast on TBS's "Matsuko's Unknown World" ~Tokyo Street Gourmet SP~ on June 25, 2024. Located in Western Tokyo, Nishiogi is compelling neighborhood that is attracting a lot of attention. Sophia University professor and urban sociologist James Farrer described the latest developments in Nishi-Ogikubo. The commercial district with over 20 shopping districts offers French cuisine with the best value for money. These and other interesting spots were introduced.
  • NHK World, Dive in Tokyo, Tokyo, Feb, 2024 TV or radio program
    Yotsuya is a central neighborhood that sits between the Imperial Palace and Shinjuku. Join us as we venture down side streets and encounter pockets of Edo—the former name of Tokyo.
  • Sophia University, Tokyo, Dec, 2023 Promotional material
    A study of a single Tokyo neighborhood reveals how local eateries serve important economic, social, and political roles in fostering social sustainability.
  • NHK World, Dive in Tokyo, Tokyo, Aug, 2023 TV or radio program
    Since opening in 2012, Tokyo Skytree has become one of the city's most popular tourist spots. But what's less known is that the area was also a leisure destination centuries ago in the Edo period, thanks to its many temples and shrines. Then, as Japan modernized, it became an industrial center and logistics hub that helped build the foundations of modern-day Tokyo, including Tokyo Skytree itself. Join us as we learn how the city's waterways set the stage for this iconic broadcasting tower.
  • NHK World, Dive in Tokyo, Tokyo, Apr, 2023 TV or radio program
    This time we visit Oji in the north of Tokyo to take in the cherry blossoms at Asukayama Park, a famous flower-viewing spot. We learn how the shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune had over 1,200 cherry trees planted there to create a place of leisure for the townspeople. We also learn about a paper mill founded by famed industrialist Shibusawa Eiichi, and a fox-themed event to welcome the New Year that's become popular among international visitors. Join us as we dive into this magical neighborhood.
  • Japan Times, Tokyo, Apr, 2023 Newspaper, magazine
  • NHK World, Dive in Tokyo, Tokyo, Feb, 2023 TV or radio program
    This time we explore the Omori area, located in the south of the city along Tokyo Bay. As a former aquaculture hub specializing in nori (edible seaweed), it retains a deep connection to the ocean. James Farrer (Professor, Sophia University) visits one of many local nori wholesalers, then encounters a group cultivating the crop using traditional methods. Later, he climbs to higher ground and learns about Omori's history as a tourist destination. Join us as we dive into this bayside neighborhood.
  • NHK World, Dive in Tokyo, Tokyo, Jul, 2022 TV or radio program
  • BBC World, The Forum, London, Sep, 2021 TV or radio program
  • NHK World, Tokyo Eye 2020, Jul, 2021 TV or radio program
  • 澎湃新闻 The Paper, 澎湃新闻 The Paper, Shanghai, Jun, 2020 Newspaper, magazine
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Japan Up Close, Dec, 2019 Internet
  • Carnegie Council Podcasts, Asia Dialogues, New York City USA, Jul, 2019 TV or radio program
    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 professor at Tokyo's Sophia University, has interviewed over 400 migrants to China looking to answer these questions. He and Senior Fellow Devin Stewart discuss immigration's impact on Chinese culture and whether foreigners can ever really fit in.
  • South China Morning Post, Hong Kong, Jun, 2019 Newspaper, magazine
  • NHK World, Tokyo Eye 2020, Tokyo, Mar, 2019 TV or radio program
  • National Public Radio (NPR), Shanghai, Apr, 2016 TV or radio program
  • Carnegie Council Podcasts, Asia Dialogues, New York City USA, Mar, 2016 TV or radio program
    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. They also discuss Farrer's advice for researchers interested in Japanese society. Farrer is co-author of "Shanghai Nightscapes: A Nocturnal Biography of A Global City."
  • Die Zeit, Die Zeit, Sep, 2015 Newspaper, magazine
  • The New York Times, The New York Times, Mar, 2013 Newspaper, magazine
  • The New Yorker, The New Yorker, New York City USA, May, 2012 Newspaper, magazine
  • The Global Times, The Global Times, Shanghai, Aug, 2011 Newspaper, magazine
  • CNN, CNN, Jan, 2010 Newspaper, magazine
  • China Daily, China Daily, Shanghai, Sep, 2009 Newspaper, magazine
  • 上海电视台 Shanghai Television, Mar, 2009 TV or radio program
  • South China Morning Post, Hong Kong, Oct, 2005 Newspaper, magazine
  • The New York Times, The New York Times, May, 2005 Newspaper, magazine