Welcome to my website!CH

I am a cultural historian of modern Japan, India, and the UK, based at the University of Edinburgh and working also as a journalist for the BBC and a number of newspapers and magazines.

I’m especially interested in religion/spirituality, philosophy, literature, and mental health. You can find details of my past and present research and writing, along with info on talks and publications, by following the links above.

Japanese TV legend ‘Ultraman’


I also run a blog, ‘The Boredom Project‘ – to which I warmly welcome guest contributions – and I’m on Twitter: @drchrisharding.

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By way of autobiographical basics, I grew up in London before heading ‘up north’ (as it seemed at the time) to Oxford University.

After finishing an undergraduate degree in History I co-founded a company producing music for the computer games industry… but was lured back into academia and a doctorate in South Asian history at St Antony’s College, Oxford.

Classic Indian cinema…

I had the chance to go to Japan for a number of years, to study the language and to train and work as a journalist with the Asahi Shimbun.

I got regularly and horribly lost above and below ground in the great city of Tokyo, but made it back to the UK to start work at Edinburgh University, where now I research and teach on India and Japan.

Some of Tokyo's best-loved residents: J-pop legends AKB-48
J-pop legends and Tokyo residents ‘AKB-48’

I’m involved in print journalism on these regions and beyond, for, amongst others, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The New York Times. I help to run a group in Edinburgh – CATAS – which holds public conversations on spirituality and therapy. And I’ve been contributing to the MASSOLIT project, providing short filmed courses for school students and learners of all ages – you can watch a trailer here.

My first book for a general readership is Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, 1850s to the Present, published by Penguin Allen Lane in November 2018.

For writing and media work, I’m represented by Northbank Talent Management. Please contact Martin Redfern. Please also feel free to get in touch directly, via my Contact page.

Somewhere near the summit of Mount Fuji…