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Sociology Research

Rin is a sociologist interested in how culture, memory, religion, and knowledge intersect. He is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge and a Research Fellow in Sociology at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge. He is also the Review Editor for the International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society.

His latest research focuses on the historical development and transformation of Japanese nationalist movements over the past three decades to the present day and how the right-wing have commemorated Japan’s colonial and wartime actions. The project aims to map out connections between neo-nationalist public intellectuals, religious organisations, political parties, and activist groups inside and outside Japan using social network analysis. Theoretically, he is informed by political sociology, cultural sociology, memory studies, and social movement studies.

He is also currently working on a monograph, provisionally titled "Contested commemoration: memory struggles of the Aum Affair in contemporary Japan 1994-2018". The Aum Affair was a series of crimes committed by new religious movement Aum Shinrikyō (abbreviated as ‘Aum’) between 1988 and 1995, which culminated in the gassing of the Tokyo subway using sarin in March 1995. Using qualitative methods including media analysis, interviews, and participant observation, this book analyses the social responses and commemoration of the Aum Affair from the first terrorist attack in 1994 to the executions of the culprits in July 2018. The book is based on researching findings from his PhD, which he completed at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge in 2017.

Research Interests

Social Theory; Cultural Sociology; Memory Studies; Political Sociology; Sociology of Religion; Social Movement Studies; Sociology of Ideas; Sociology of Intellectuals; Religions in Japan; 20th Century and Contemporary East Asia


Undergraduate Course Supervision:

SOC 1 Introduction to Sociology

SOC 8 Religion and Contentious Mobilization

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Ushiyama, R. (2019) ‘Latency through uncertainty: the 1994 Matsumoto Sarin Incident as a delayed cultural trauma’. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 32(1): 21-41. DOI: 10.1007/s10767-018-9282-1

Ushiyama, R. (2014) Richard Dawkins as a public intellectual after The God Delusion: A British study. American Journal of Cultural Sociology, vol.2 no.3 pp. 300-326. DOI: 10.1057/ajcs.2014.7

Grants and Projects

Ushiyama, R. (PI) The survival and reproduction of historical revisionism in Japanese public discourse: 1996-present. The British Academy (2017-2019): £228,390.

PhD Supervisor

Research Groups & Affiliations


Cambridge Commonweath, European and International Trust: Cambridge International Scholarship, 2013-16

Job Title:
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Murray Edwards College