After gaining his PhD at Aberystwyth, he was Research Fellow at the Institute of Asian Cultural Studies at International Christian University in Tokyo, and taught International Relations at Plymouth before moving to Loughborough in 2007. He has taught a wide range of courses on international politics and international political economy, including International Relations Theory, the United Nations and International Organisations, The Asia-Pacific in Global Politics, and the International Political Economy of the Asia-Pacific Region.
Having spent four years as a US Treasuries broker at Cantor Fitzgerald (Tokyo office), he brings first-hand experience of political economy to the classroom, having experienced the market turmoil immediately following the announcement of the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995.
He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Taku is interested in applying the concepts of International Relations and Social Theory to the international political-economic dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region. His main focus is on Japanese foreign policy in East Asia, spanning both Tokyo’s diplomatic- and economic relations with Asia and the US.
His current research investigates the images of Asia in contemporary Japanese foreign- and economic policy pronouncements. Here, he explores how policy elites understand and explain Asia as both a threat and opportunity—an interpretation that transcends both the past and present. He is also looking into Japan’s soft power projection in Western Europe, researching on the way Japanese government perceives its political- and economic activities in the EU and the UK.
He has published in leading journals in international relations and the international politics of the Asia-Pacific, including The Pacific Review, International Relations, and the International Relations of the Asia-Pacific.
- Deconstructing Japan’s Image of South Korea: Identity in Foreign Policy (New York: Palgrave, 2010)
- “The Persistence of Reified Asia as Reality in Japanese Foreign Policy Narratives”, The Pacific Review, 28:1 (2015), pp. 23-45.
- “Surrounding Areas and the Social Construction of Japan’s Defence Periphery”, East Asia, An International Quarterly, 29:2 (2012), pp. 187-213.
- “Confusing Confucius in Asian Values? A Constructivist Critique”, International Relations, 21:3 (2007), pp. 284-304..
- “Taking the ‘Taken-for-Grantedness’ Seriously: Problmatizing Japan’s Perception of Japan-South Korea Relations,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 4:1 (2004), pp. 147-69.