SMITH, Nathaniel M.

Programs and Languages

  • japanese|english|
  • japanese|english|


Cultural Anthropology: Far Right Political Activism, Urban Studies, Japan Studies

Research Topic

My research is broadly drawn around two topics. First, since 2005 I have pursued a project on the historical and ethnographic study of contemporary far-right political activism and new expressions of nationalism in the digital age. More recently I am working on an urban studies project centered on the post-WWII history and contemporary redevelopment of entertainment districts in Japan, primarily centered on Tokyo’s Kabukicho. I also maintain interests in sound and visual studies as well as popular culture.

Even as technology fuels greater interconnectedness, forms of conflict and difference still drive social friction in within societies, across regions, and around the world. I’m fascinated by how individuals navigate these complicated questions, how layers of history inform cultural change, how Japan consumes information from around the world and in turn inspires new visions, and how individuals navigate complicated questions about identity, inter-connectedness, and difference.

Message for Applicants

At the graduate level, I look forward to advising students with interests in ethnographic and historical projects centered on Japan studies, political and social issues, urban studies, and other facets of contemporary society.

Advised Master’s Thesis (Last 5 years)

  • Getting to Work:The School to Work Transition of International Students in Japan
  • Your Home Away From Home: Making Third Places in Downtown Kyoto
  • Overworking Teachers in Japan: qualitative accounts of current teachers’ experiences 
  • Online Misogyny in Japan