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Dr William Kelly

Stipendiary Lecturer in Anthropology

Dr William Kelly (D.Phil., Oxon) is Stipendiary Lecturer in Anthropology at St. Hugh’s College and Research Affiliate at the School of Anthropology and Museum Studies. In addition to teaching students on the Archaeology and Anthropology degree, he develops and convenes courses in Digital Research Methods for research students in Anthropology and the Social Sciences. He has previously held academic posts at the University of Manchester, University of Oxford, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and at universities in Japan.

Research Interests                                                         

Dr Kelly’s main research interests are related to leisure, popular culture and the popular culture industries in Japan and the movement (and adaptation) of Japanese popular culture across social, cultural and national borders. Other research interests include social memory, heritage and nostalgia; methodology and explanation in the social sciences and the relationship between society and technology. The focus of his doctoral dissertation was the role of karaoke singing in mediating relationships in contemporary Japanese society and post-doctoral research explored the introduction, popularisation and adaptation of karaoke in the United Kingdom. Other research projects have encompassed association and community formation amongst expatriate Japanese living in the UK; entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Japan; production and localization of videogames in Japan and gaming and gambling.  Dr Kelly is currently working to complete a book on karaoke singing in Japan and is interested in developing future research related to communities of technologists living and working in Tokyo. Research to date has been gratefully funded by the ESRC, the Japanese Ministry of Education, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Sasakawa Fund of Great Britain and the Japan Foundation.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr Kelly has contributed to Japan-related programmes on BBC radio and Scottish Television and is an occasional contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and The Japan Times.

Selected Publications

Books and monographs

In Progress. Empty Orchestras: fifty years of karaoke-singing in Japan [tentative title].

Journal articles, book chapters and other published papers

  1. Hands with four digits: An issue in the rating and censorship of video games in Japan? Replaying Japan Journal 2 (March, 2020): 61-72.
  2. Mediating Modernity through popular song: The geography of visual images illustratingenkain the context of karaoke and thematic parallels with Arabesk. Global Perspectives on Japan No. 1 (Inaugural Special Issue: “Nature and Technology”): 155-74.
  3. ‘Karaoke’s Coming Home:  Japan’s Empty Orchestras in the United Kingdom’Leisure Studies30(3) [Published in 30th Anniversary Volume].
  4. ‘Censoring Violence in Virtual Dystopia: Issues in the rating of videogames in Japan and of Japanese  videogames outside Japan’. Chapter 8 in Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies: Critical Approaches to Researching Video Game Play, edited by J. Talmadge Wright, A. Lukacs and D.G. Embrick. Lexington Books.
  5. ‘Gaming and Gambling in Japan:  Overview and Themes for Further Research’Europe-Japan Research Centre Occasional Papers No. 3, Oxford Brookes University.
  6. ‘Training for Leisure:  Karaoke and the seriousness of play in Japan’, in Joy Hendry and Massimo Raveri (eds) Japan At Play, Routledge.

2001 (1998 hardcover). ‘Karaoke in Pub Culture:  Great Britain’, in Toru Mitsui and Shuhei Hosokawa (eds) Karaoke Around the World:  Singing Culture in the Era of Digital Technology, Routledge, 83-91.

  1. ‘Japan’s Empty Orchestras:  echoings of Japanese culture in the performance of karaoke’, in D.P. Martinez (ed.) The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture, Cambridge University Press, 75-87.
Stipendiary Lecturer in Anthropology
Archaeology and Anthropology
Academic - Fellows & Lecturers