Susanne Klien





Research Keywords

Rural Japan, lifestyle migration, transnational mobility, regional revitalization, new modes of working and living, intangible cultural property


MA: Vienna University
PhD: Vienna University


My research is mainly qualitative and focuses on modern and contemporary Japan. I have a background in Japanese studies with a focus on cultural anthropology. I have previously investigated the practice and transmission of traditions in rural Japan such as local festivals, meanings of life, regional revitalization, tourism as well as alternative lifestyles in rural Japan. I am presently working on a new ethnographic project that examines transnational mobility of Japanese individuals in Europe.

Classes Taught on MJSP

Introduction to Japanese Studies II (Culture), Japanese Culture I & II, Japanese for Academic Purposes IIB, Aspects of Japan II Field Trip You can watch a video of me giving a lecture as part of the Global Issues Forum for Tomorrow (GIFT) event that was part of Sustainability Weeks 2013.

Selected Publications


  • 2019.  Urban migrants in the Japanese countryside: Creative depopulation, alternative lifestyles and moratorium migration, under contract.
  • 2002. Rethinking Japan’s Identity and International Role – An Intercultural Perspective, Beauchamp, Edward (ed.), Routledge: History, Politics, Sociology, Culture Series.

Edited books

  • 2013. Well-Being. Emotions, Rituals and Performances in Japan (edited with Christoph Wulf). Paragrana. Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie. Bd. 22, 1, Akademie Verlag

Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • 2017.  “Ritual, resistance, rebellion? Disaster volunteer experiences in northeastern Japan”, Journal of Ritual Studies 31(1), University of Pittsburgh, pp. 1-10.
  • 2016.  “Reinventing Ishinomaki, reinventing Japan? Creative networks, alternative lifestyles and the search for quality in life in post-growth Japan”, Japanese Studies, Japanese Studies Association of Australia, Vol. 36, Issue 1, pp. 39-60.
  • 2016. “Shinto Ritual Practice in Miyagi Prefecture after the Great East Japan Earthquake: The Case of the Ogatsu Hōin Kagura”, Asian Ethnology, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Vol. 75:2, pp. 359-376.
  • 2012. “Bullfighting in Oki: Post-Retirement Leisure, Social Network or Purpose in Life?”, Asian Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Vol. 10
  • 2010. “Contemporary Art and regional revitalization: selected artworks in the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2000-6”, Japan Forum (British Association of Japanese Studies) 22 (3-4)

Book chapters

  • 2019. “Young urban migrants in the Japanese countryside between self-realization and slow life? The quest for ‘small-scale happiness’ and alternative lifestyles in post-growth Japan”, chapter in Hiroko Takeda and Mark Williams (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Japan, (forthcoming).
  • 2018. “Escaping shigarami and seeking ibasho: Beyond normative notions of Japan”, co-author with Lara, Chen Tien-Shi (Waseda University), After words, in Blai Guarne and Paul Hansen (eds.), Escaping Japan: Reflections on Estrangement and Exile in the Twenty-First Century, Japan Anthropological Workshop Series, London: Routledge, pp. 226-233.
  • 2017. “Living and Working for the Moment: Motivations, aspirations and experiences of disaster volunteers in Tohoku” in Wolfram Manzenreiter and Barbara Holthus (eds.), Happiness and the Good Life in Japan. Japan Anthropological Workshop Series, London: Routledge, pp. 164-182.
  • 2015. “Young urban migrants in the Japanese countryside between self-realization and slow life? The quest for subjective well-being and post-materialism” in Stephanie Assmann (ed.), Sustainability in Post-Growth Rural Japan: Challenges and Opportunities, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 95-107.