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Patricia Steinhoff, PhD Harvard University, 1969
Office Location: Saunders 240
Phone Number: 956-7676
Fax Number: 956-3707
Personal Webpage:


I am a Japan specialist. I speak and read Japanese and virtually all of my research concerns either Japanese society or Japanese Studies in the United States. I do primarily qualitative research on Japanese social movements, but also have done a number of large-scale survey projects, including four studies of Japan specialists in the United States and Canada. My monograph analyzing the most recent data may be found at the following website: Earlier in my career I did extensive research on abortion and women's health in Hawaii. I also have led some Japanese and English bilingual website projects. They can be found at the following locations: and


I currently teach undergraduate and graduate courses on Japanese society, a graduate seminar on social movements, and a graduate seminar on qualitative content analysis. I also participate in a joint seminar on comparative social organization in East Asia. In fall 2014 I am teaching the graduate seminar on Classical Social Theory.

Course Syllabi:

    Fall 2014SOC Soc. 750 (1) - Seminar in Social Movements View Syllabus
  • SOC Soc. 611 (1) - Seminar in Classical Sociological Theory View Syllabus
    Spring 2013SOC 607 (1) - Seminar in Qualitative Content Analysis View Syllabus
  • SOC 722 (1) - Seminar in Modern Japanese Society View Syllabus
    Spring 2012SOC Soc 357 WI (1) - Sociology of Japanese Society View Syllabus


I do a lot of work with graduate students in the sociology department, and also serve on the committee of some students in other department who are studying Japan. I also serve on (and previously chaired) the University's Social Science Committee on Human Studies, so I can advise on human subjects procedures.


My major research is on social movements in Japan, particularly those on the Left. I am interested in the Japanese protest cycle of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and radical left groups that emerged in that protest cycle and went underground. I am currently writing on Japan's invisible civil society, which I see as an outgrowth of that protest cycle.


In my spare time I am an avid handweaver. I have a weaving blog at


Title: Memories of New Left Protest (2013)
Publication Information: This article used collective memory concepts to analyze three key events in the Japanese New Left protest cycle. It was published in Contemporary Japan, Journal of the German Institute for Japanese Studies 25:2, Fall 2013, pp. 127-165.

Title: The Remains of the Movement: The Role of Legal Support Networks in Leaving Violence while Sustaining Movement Identity (2012)
Co Authors: Gilda Zwerman
Publication Information: This is the third article in the series that Gilda Zwerman and I have published comparing what happened to the groups that went underground at the peak of the protest cycle. This one deals with how they continued to resist after arrest with the aid of support groups or defense committees, but later their ties to these groups enabled them to withdraw from violence.

Title: “Passer puis renoncer à l’action violente: les mouvements de la nouvelle gauche aux États-Unis et au Japon face à la répression“ [Engaging in and Renouncing Violence: New Left Movements in the United States and Japan Confront Repression] (2013)
Co Authors: Gilda Zwerman
Publication Information: This French article is part of our comparative work on underground militant groups in Japan and the United States. It was published in Cultures et conflits in a special issue on Militantisme et Répression no. 89, Spring 2013, pp. 71-92

Title: Going to Court to Change Japan: Social Movements and the Law (2014)
Publication Information: I edited this volume, which is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies series in summer 2014. I also have both an introduction explaining the Japanese criminal justice system and a chapter in it called "No Helmets in Court, No T-shirts on Death Row: New Left Trial Support Groups in Japan." It chronicles the activities of a network of support groups for a bombing group that currently has two members on Japan's death row and others serving prison sentences.

Title: “Japan: Student Activism in an Emerging Democracy” (2012)
Publication Information: This chapter appeared in Meredith Weiss and Edward Aspinall,eds., Student Activism in Asia: Between Protest and Powerlessness. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012, pp. 57-78. It traces the Japanese student movement from its prewar origins to the present.

Title: Mass Arrests, Sensational Crimes, and Stranded Children: Three Crises for Japanese New Left Activists’ Families (2008)
Publication Information: This chapter appeared in Akiko Hashimoto and John Traphagan, eds., Japanese Families in a Global Age: Conflict and Change. (SUNY Press, 2008). I examines the responses of Japanese families to the arrest and incarceration of their children for protest activity over the period from the late 1960s to 2005, and the role of support groups in mediating and facilitating that response.

Title: Doing Fieldwork in Japan (2003)
Co Authors: Theodore Bestor and Vickey Bestor
Publication Information: This is an edited collection of articles about the process of doing fieldwork in Japan, which also includes my own chapter on "Doing Fieldwork Without a Site".

Title: Shifting Boundaries in Japan’s Criminal Justice System (2010)
Publication Information: This chapter in Decoding Boundaries in Postwar Japan: The Koizumi Administration and Beyond. edited by Hiroko Takeda and Glenn D. Hook, ( Routledge, 2010) compares two major trials with heavy participation of social movement organizations on the left and the right, to illustrate recent changes in the Japanese criminal justice system.

Title: Shi e no Ideologii (2003)
Publication Information: This is a republication in the Iwanami Modern Classics Series of my earlier book in Japanese entitled Nihon Sekigunha: Sono Shakaigakuteki Monogatari, with a new preface and commentary by Japanese scholar Tsurumi Shunsuke. There is no English version of this book yet, but a Korean translation of it was published in 2013 as The Lod Airport Massacre and the Rengo Sekigun Purge .[in Korean] Seoul: Gyoyangin Publishing Company, 2013.

Title: Radical Outcasts versus Three Kinds of Police: Constructing Limits in Japanese Anti-Emperor Protest (2006)
Publication Information: This article analyzing the interaction of protesters and police in Japanese protest demonstrations appeared in Qualitative Sociology , vol 29:3, September, 2006.

Title: When Activists Ask for Trouble: State-Dissident Interactions and the New Left Cycle of Resistance in the United States and Japan (2005)
Co Authors: Gilda Zwerman
Publication Information: This study appeared in Christian Davenport, Hank Johnston, and Carol Mueller, eds., Repression and Mobilization. Social Movements, Protest, and Contention, Vol. 21. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005, pp. 85-107. It is the second in our series of analyses of how social movement groups go underground, using materials from our separate fieldwork in Japan and the US.

Title: Disappearing Social Movements: Clandestinity in the Cycle of New Left Social Movements in the United States, Japan, Germany, and Italy (2000)
Co Authors: Donatella della Porta and Gilda Zwerman
Publication Information: This was the first of a series of articles in which we have pooled fieldwork data from Japan, the United States, and Europe on parallel New Left social movement groups that went underground. It appeared in the journal Mobilization. (5) 1, Spring, 2000, pp. 85-104. This one was co-authored by della Porta (Europe) and Zwerman (U.S.). Zwerman and I have continued to work on the US-Japan comparison to explore similar developments in these two countries after the experience in Europe diverged.


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