change language:


Sophia UniversityGraduate School of HumanitiesGraduate School of Applied Religious StudiesGraduate School of LawGraduate School of EconomicsGraduate School of Languages and LinguisticsGraduate School of Global StudiesGraduate School of Science and TechnologyGraduate School of Global Environmental StudiesGraduate Degree Program of Applied Data SciencesFaculty of TheologyFaculty of HumanitiesFaculty of Human SciencesFaculty of LawFaculty of EconomicsFaculty of Foreign StudiesFaculty of Global StudiesFaculty of Liberal ArtsFaculty of Science and TechnologyCenter for Liberal Education and LearningCenter for Language Education and ResearchCenter for Global Education and DiscoverySRO Research Institutes DivisionAffiliated Research OrganizationsSophia University Junior College Division

国際教養学部 国際教養学科

Researcher List >> James Farrer

James Farrer

NameJames Farrer
AffiliationSophia University
SectionFaculty of Liberal Arts, Department of Liberal Arts
Job titleProfessor
DegreePh.D.(University of Chicago), M.A.(University of Chicago), B.A.(University of North Carolina)
Research funding number40317508
ORCID ID0000-0002-9847-0347
J-Global ID200901080858913669


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.

Research Interests

Sociology ,Urban Sociology ,Food Studies ,Migration ,Globalization ,Sexuality ,Chinese Society ,Japanese Society

Research Areas

  • Humanities & social sciences / Sociology / 


Rebecca Babirye   James Farrer   
Sexualities   136346072311713-136346072311713   May 2023   [Refereed][Invited]
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 t...
James Farrer   
Asia Pacific Viewpoint   63(3) 396-410   Mar 2022   [Refereed][Invited]
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 A...
Susanne Wessendorf   James Farrer   
Comparative Migration Studies   9(28) 1-17   Dec 2021   [Refereed][Invited]
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...
James Farrer   Chuanfei Wang   
Asian Anthropology   20(1) 12-29   Jan 2021   [Refereed]
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...
James Farrer   
Food Culture & Society   24(1) 49-65   Jan 2021   [Refereed][Invited]
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 cen...

Books and Other Publications

James Farrer, David Wank(Part:Joint edit, 1-380)
University of Hawai'i Press   May 2023   (ISBN:9780824894269)   [Refereed]
Farrer James(Part:Sole author, 26-47)
Berghahn Books   Jul 2022   (ISBN:9781800735675)   [Refereed]
This chapter develops the concept of sexual mobility and shows its relevance for studies of migration. Many migrants experience what I call sexual mobility, or changes in their sexual status, sexual opportunities, and even sexual interests during ...
Farrer James(Part:Sole author, 193-213)
Bloomsbury Academic   Jul 2019   (ISBN:9781350078680)   [Refereed]


James Farrer   
University Current Review   67(383) 76-81   Nov 2018   
Farrer, James   
Policy Innovations, August      2008   
Available online at Policy Innovations,


James Farrer   
SITE Japan #2: Japanese Urbanism in International Context   25 Feb 2023   Keio University   [Invited]
James Farrer   
2022 Global City Roundtable   28 Oct 2022   The Education University of Hong Kong   [Invited]
James Farrer   
Conference on Food and Sustainability: Local food system, food policy and global engagement,   12 Aug 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   27 Mar 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 COVI...
James Farrer   
Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China, Princeton University   27 Sep 2021   Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China   [Invited]

Research Projects

Neighborhood Gastronomy as a Grassroots Creative Industry: Resilience and Innovation in Response to COVID
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science: Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C)
James Farrer 
Project Year: Apr 2022 - Mar 2026
Digital Ethnographic Mapping of Neighborhood Foodscapes in Shanghai and Tokyo
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science: Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C)
Project Year: Apr 2016 - Mar 2023
Artisanal Ethics and Community Resilience in Tokyo
Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, Robert J. Myers Fellowship: 
James Farrer 
Project Year: 2016 - 2019
The Meaning of Happiness in Chinese Society
Georgetown University (USA): 
Project Year: 2013 - 2017


Jun 2023
Association for the Study of Food and Society, Belasco Prize for Scholarly Excellence
James Farrer 
Mar 2023
Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, Exemplar of utilizing knowledge of Japanese food culture,Nishiogiology (research website)
James Farrer 
Dec 2022
Taylor & Francis, Best Paper Award,Best Paper Award for Asian Anthropology 2021
James Farrer Chuanfei Wang 
Apr 2019
Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, Carnegie Council Pacific Fellow; Robert J. Myers Fellow, 2018 and 2019,USA

Professional Memberships

Association for Food Studies
Association for Asian Studies
Carnegie Council Pacific Fellow

Research History

Apr 2002
Mar 2008
The Open University of Japan   
Oct 2001
Mar 2002
Hitotsubashi University   
Jan 1997
Aug 1998
NORC. University of Chicago  Research Assistant 
Apr 1997
Jun 1998
Graham School. University of Chicago  Lecturer 
Aug 1996
Dec 1996
Fudan East West Center  Teacher 

Academic Activities

Planning, etc・Supervision
Gastronomica Journal: University of California Press 2018 - Today

Social Activities

 Nishiogiology is an ethnographic research project centered in the Tokyo neighborhood of Nishiogikubo (Nishiogi) and focusing on urban foodways, the meanings of culinary work, and changing forms of community participation. It is led by James Farrer, a sociologist based at Sophia University in Tokyo. ( 2015

Media Coverage

NHK World   Dive in Tokyo   Tokyo   Apr 2023   [TV or radio program]
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...
NHK World   Dive in Tokyo   Tokyo   Jul 2022   [TV or radio program]
BBC World   The Forum   London   Sep 2021   [TV or radio program]


I have taught qualitative research methods at several Chinese universities.
Extensively employ the moodle online teaching system to develop courses online, allowing for improvement of access of students to resources and flexible offline communication with students.
I have been teaching students to do qualitative fieldwork since 1998, and developing new methods for organizing qualitative interviewing for undergraduates.