Global Perspective

New Kiriyama Professor Shares Insights on Labor Issues and Free Trade Agreements in the Asia Pacific

by Center for Asia Pacific Studies

This spring, the USF Center for Asia Pacific Studies welcomes Dr. Hiro Richard Watanabe as the new Kiriyama Professor of Asia Pacific Studies. Dr. Watanabe, currently on sabbatical from the University of Sheffield in the UK, will be in residence at USF from February through May 2019. Dr. Watanabe brings with him a wealth of knowledge gained from 15 years of teaching and doing research in the UK on the comparative political economy of East Asia (labor issues) and the international political economy of the Asia Pacific (political aspects of free trade agreements). He holds degrees from University of Oxford (D. Phil, Politics), Yale University (MA, East Asian Studies) and the University of Tokyo (BA, Economics). 

“The Kiriyama Professor position at USF will provide me with a great opportunity to learn more about the political aspects of US migration and to gain a different perspective on the topic. In addition to hosting workshops for students, I plan to complete my publication and meet with leaders of labor unions and non-profit organizations in the Bay Area to discuss California labor issues,” says Dr. Watanabe. Dr. Watanabe’s research interests include labor migration in East Asia, the politics of labor market reform and work precarity in Japan, South Korea, Italy and Spain, and Japan's pursuit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In addition to conducting research, Dr. Watanabe will spend his residency teaching at USF and engaging with students and faculty. While here, he will host a three-part graduate workshop series, “Risk, Reform, and Rivalry in Contemporary Asia Pacific.” This series will allow Dr. Watanabe to share his knowledge on contemporary political, economic, and social issues relevant to East Asia with graduate students from USF and other universities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The workshops will examine topics such as international labor migration to Japan and South Korea from other East Asian countries, the labor market reform and its socio-economic impact in Japan, and the Sino-Japanese economic rivalry in the context of the regional economic integration in the Asia Pacific. The workshops are designed to encourage engagement with the material as well as networking among students with shared interests. Participants who complete all three workshops will receive a certificate of completion. Dr. Watanabe will also be engaging with students and faculty at Center events and through guest lectures in USF classes.

Please join the Center in welcoming Dr. Wantabe to USF.