I am originally from Gifu Prefecture in central Japan and now live in London, employed as a Research Fellow in the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London. My research focuses on the care of older people in Britain and Japan, from a variety of perspectives. l am also a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Human Services Research at University of Tsukuba (2013-).
My interest in older people comes from looking after my late grandfather with my family at various care locations in Japan, while I have long had a strong interest in the foundations and evolution of Britain’s Welfare State and comparative welfare policy.
Thus, I came to England to embark on an MA course in social history in modern Britain in the School of History at UEA and moved onto a PhD there to expand the geographical dimension to include Japan, while specialising in the residential care of older people. The book based on my PhD thesis: The Care of Older People: England and Japan, A Comparative Study (Pickering & Chatto) was published in April 2013.
As a UEA post-doctoral Research Fellow, I twice received Community-University Engagement (CUE) East funding for local qualitative outreach projects to develop my doctoral research. The projects expanded my research from historical perspectives to current initiatives and practices in the care of older people, bringing my work thoroughly up to date and engaging in a more person-centred approach, involving older care recipients, informal carers, volunteers and paid care providers at various levels, both in residential and domestic settings.
I have combined my local engagement work with parallel research on the care of older people in Japan, producing articles in the Guardian and History & Policy. I am also involved in research into voluntary ‘time-banking’, a Japanese tradition of local mutual help networks based upon exchanges of non-monetary currencies – ‘time credits’. This has particular relevance to the ‘Big Society’ question in the context of demographic ageing and economic uncertainties which may drive the search for alternative care arrangements. I gave presentations at the Cabinet Office and National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) in London, and advise the Cabinet Office. I am also a consultant on the Care4Care project, led by Prof. Heinz Wolff and the Young Foundation, and Windsor and Maidenhead Council’s Big Society initiative CareBank. An article discussing Japanese experiences in time-banking was published in August 2012 and can be found here.
In 2011 I received a CUE East Individual Public Engagement Award for my engagement initiatives on the care of older people in Britain and Japan.
In May 2012, I took up a 3-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for research on Voluntary Sector Social Care for Older People in Britain and Japan, 1945-2010 in the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London. For details, see the Current Research section.