Dr Natsuko Akagawa


School of Languages and Cultures
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 56295


Natsuko Akagawa has a PhD and Masters in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Master of Business Administration, Graduate Diploma of Education, Diploma of Portuguese Language and Culture and Bachelor of Arts. She has also studied and practiced the Japanese arts of tea ceremony, flower arrangement, traditional martial arts (aikijujutsu) and traditional fabric dying techniques in Japan. She has published widely on heritage, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Natsuko’s research focuses on heritage as it applies to people, communities, nations and global interactions. She is looking at how ‘heritage’ is contested and negotiated on national, international, multicultural and colonial and post-colonial context. It is interested in the way heritage assembles histories, memories and identities and is articulated in policies, practices and imaginaries.

Her book, Heritage conservation in Japan’s cultural diplomacy: Heritage, national identity and national interest (Routledge Contemporary Japanese Series 2014), which establishes a pioneering theoretical nexus between the politics of cultural diplomacy, heritage conservation, and national identity and interest, has become a focus for scholars in a range of disciplines

Natsuko is a co-editor of Intangible Heritage (Routledge 2008), internationally regarded as one of the first comprehensive texts on this topic and used widely as a prescribed reading material globaly. She is currently preparing New Intangible Heritage (contacted forthcoming 2017) with her co-editor. In her research in this area, she has been tracing the recent development of the concept of intangible heritage in heritage discourse and practice. In particular, this has examined the influence of Japanese heritage practice in recognising the importance of embodied skill in relation to material or tangible heritage. More generally she is interested in how this new understanding of heritage has influenced community practice, national policy-making and global heritage discourse.

She is also Associate Investigator ARC centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. Her particular interest in relation to the history of emotions involves the way emotions mediated the cultural encounter of East and West at both personal and political levels in the early modern period. She is interested in the way such encounters played a role in shaping perceptions and the performance of heritage in both East and West, through engagement with both tangible and intangible elements such as meanings, memories and identity.

Other areas of her current research and publications have involved specific studies on the nature of colonial and post-colonial practice of heritage in several East and Southeast Asian nations, and the political use of heritage in framing contemporary national identities in the region, with particular reference to Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Following an earlier article related to Japan’s occupation of Indonesia between 1942 and 1945, Natsuko is researching the legacy of Japanese naval administration in East Indonesia as part of a co-authored book on the history of Central Sulawesi (Indonesia). She is also developing these various studies for a book on Japan’s civil and cultural administration of Indonesia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific and its legacies.

Research interests also include:

- Cultural diplomacy and heritage

- Intangible heritage

- Digital heritage

- Development of heritage policy and practice in Japan and Asia

- Transnational community and heritage: displacement, violence, trauma, identity, memory

- Historic urban / cultural landscape: identity, memory and heritage

- Colonial/Postcolonial heritage: politics and communities

- Borders and space: memory and heritage

- Heritage and Emotion / Heritage and religion / Heritage and Cultural Tourism

Professional engagement

Deputy Chair of Humanities and Social Sciences Early Career Academic Committee

QLD Senior External Assessment Panel

Associate Investigator for Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

Expert Member of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

Vice-President and Expert Member of ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage

Research Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies with Leiden University (Netherlands) (EU funded)

Visiting research fellow at the East West Centre and University of Hawaii, Manoa (United States Federal Government funded)

Associate Member of the Centre for Urban Research (RMIT University, Melbourne)

Reviewer: International Journal of Heritage Studies, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management

Recent publications


Smith, L. and Akagawa, N. (eds.) [forthcoming 2017] NEW: Intangible Heritage [with subtitle], London; New York: Routledge. [Contracted]

Akagawa, N. 2015, Heritage Conservation in Japan’s Cultural Diplomacy: Heritage, National Identity and National Interest, London; New York: Routledge.

Smith, L. and Akagawa, N. (eds.) 2009, Intangible Heritage, London; New York: Routledge.

Book chapters

Akagawa, N. 2016, ‘Intangible Heritage and Embodiment: Japan’s Influence on Global Heritage Discourse’ in Logan, William, Nic Craith, Máiread and Kockel, Ullrich (eds) A Companion to Heritage Studies, New Jersey, Wiley-Blackwell.pp.69-86.

Akagawa, N. (co-authored) 2015, The war experience of Dutch Eurasian civilians in Java, 1942 – 1948, in Twomey, C. and Koh, E. (eds), The Pacific War 1941-5: Aftermaths, Remembrance and Culture, New York; London: Routledge.pp.110-132.

Akagawa, N. (co-authored) 2013, ‘Cultural rights and conservation of old Bangkok’ in Baker C. (ed), Protecting Siam's Heritage, Seattle, WA, United States: University of Washington Press, pp. 149-166.

Akagawa, N. (co-authored) 2012, ‘Concept and practice of cultural landscape protection in Thailand’, in Taylor, K. and Lennon, J. (eds), Managing Cultural Landscapes, London; New York: Routledge.pp. 173-191.

Akagawa, N. (co-authored) 2009, ‘Introduction’, in Smith, L. and Akagawa, N. (eds), Intangible Heritage, London; New York: Routledge.pp. 1-9.

Refereed journal articles

Akagawa, N. 2017 ‘Reconsidering cultural heritage in East Asia’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp605-606. doi:10.1080/13527258.2017.1287120

Akagawa, N 2016 Japan and the Rise of Heritage in Cultural Diplomacy: Where Are We Heading? Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, History, Theory, and Criticism, 13(1), 125-139. (Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/futuante.13.1.0125)

Akagawa, N. 2016, Rethinking the global heritage discourse – overcoming ‘East’ and ‘West’?, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 22(1), 14-25. doi:10.1080/13527258.2015.1068213 (Published online 2015)

Akagawa, N. (co-authored) 2013, ‘Cultural rights and conservation of old Bangkok’ Journal of the Siam Society, Vol.100.

Akagawa, N. (co-authored) 2010, ‘Understanding the concept of cultural landscape in Thailand: From vernacular approach to the application of international framework’, The Architectural Journal of The Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage (ASA), August – September, pp 104-113.

Akagawa, N. (co-authored) 2008, ‘Cultural landscape in Asia and the Pacific: Implication of the World Heritage Convention’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol.14, No.2, March 2008, pp 176-191.

Akagawa, N. (co-authored) 2007 ‘Cultural landscape in the World Heritage List: Understanding on the gap and categorisation’, City & Time, Vol.2, No.3:2.

Book reviews

Akagawa, N. 2017 ‘The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore by Michael Foster’, International Institute of Asian Studies. The Newsletter, 76, Spring. pp24-25. [Readership 50,000 worldwide]

Akagawa, N. 2015 ‘Heritage Management in Korea and Japan: The Politics of Antiquity and Identity by Hyung Il Pai’, Museum Anthropology Review. Volume 9, No1-2, pp114-116.

Akagawa, N. 2015 ‘A Heritage of Ruins by William Chapman’, Southeast Asian Studies. 12/2014, Volume 3, Issue 3. pp678-680.

Akagawa, N. 2014 ‘Intangible Heritage and the Museum: New Perspectives on Cultural Preservation by Marilena Alivizatou’. American Anthropologist, Wiley-Blackwell. American Anthropological Association, Volume 116, Issue 4, December 2014, pp862–863.

Akagawa, N. 2013 ‘International Architecture in Interwar Japan by Oshima Ken’, International Institute for Asian Studies, The Newsletter, No 65. pp18-19 [Readership 50,000 worldwide]

Occasional paper/Catalogue

Akagawa, N. 2014, Ukiyo-e in Memory, Occasional Paper No 13, Ukiyo-e: Japanese Prints of the Floating World, 8 February - 28 June 2014, Berndt Museum/Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, the University of Western Australia.

Recent refereed conference paper presentations

Akagawa, N., 2016, Curiosity, Love and Loathing: The Emotional Threads in Seventeenth Century European Encounters with an Exotic East, at Emotions: Movement, Cultural Contact and Exchange 1100-1800, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, 30 June – 3 July. 2016.

Akagawa, N., 2015, The politics of ‘tangible’ and ‘intangible’, at RISKS TO IDENTITY: Loss of Traditions and Collective Memory 2015 ICOMOS Annual General Assembly, Advisory Committee Meeting and Scientific Symposium 2015, Fukuoka, Japan, 24-30 October 2015.

Akagawa, N., 2015, ‘Where do we draw a line?’ at Thinking About Borders, University of Melbourne and Institute of Postcolonial Studies, 24 July 2015.

Akagawa, N., 2015, ‘The impact of UNESCO Intangible Heritage Convention and the politics and practice of heritage in Indonesia’, at Eighth Indonesia Council Open Conference, Deakin University, Geelong, 2-3July 2015.

Akagawa, N., 2015, ‘Visual representation of colonial heritage’, at Practices of Order: Colonial and Imperial Projects Conference, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 27-31 January 2015.

Akagawa, N., 2015, ‘Local, National and International Factors in the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Japan’, in Protecting the Weak: Entangled processes of framing, mobilization and institutionalization in East Asia, Frankfurt, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, and jointly organized with the Institute fur Sozialforschung (Institute for Social Research, IfS), 22- 26 January 2015.

Akagawa, N., 2014, ‘The Dynamics of ‘Our’ Heritage in the Densely Populated Historic City: Macau’, at International Conference on Citizens, Civil Society and the Cultural Politics of Heritage-Making in East and Southeast Asia, by Academic Cooperation of Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 11-13 December 2014.

Akagawa, N., 2014, ‘Embodied heritage: Intangible nonetheless’, at Association of Critical Heritage Studies international conference, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 2-4 December 2014.

Akagawa, N., 2014, ‘Cultural diplomacy and heritage conservation’, at Association of Critical Heritage Studies international conference, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 2-4 December 2014.

Akagawa, N., 2014, ‘Sensing Intangible: Craft Skills’, at Grasping the Intangible at Heritage Places, ICOMOS Australia, National scientific committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage inaugural conference, Melbourne University, 18 October 2014.

Akagawa, N., 2013, ‘Layers of meaning and emotion: early modern ‘west’ in Japan’, presented at Sourcing Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World Conference, The University of Western Australia, Perth, 27-29 June 2013.

Akagawa, N., 2011, ‘Heritage conservation practice and perspectives in Japan’, presented at Heritage Conserved and Contested: Asian and European Perspectives, International Institute for Asian Studies and Leiden University, The Netherlands, 20-25 June 2011.

Recent Workshops/Presentations/Seminars

Akagawa, N 2015 “Heritage and Embodiment: Japan’s influence on global heritage discourse”, Department of Japanese Literature, Faculty of Letters, Universitas Hasanuddin, Makassar, Indonesia, 22 December, 2015.

Akagawa, N 2015 “Japan, Word Heritage, National Interest and Cultural Diplomacy”, Architectural History, Urban and Cultural Heritage, University of Melbourne, The University of Melbourne, 2 September, 2015.

Akagawa, N 2015 "Urban Heritage, Indonesian heritage systems; Seminar and workshop", Soegijapranata Catholic University, Semarang, Indonesia, Faculty of Urban and Environmental Studies. 4-6th February 2015.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University


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  • Master Philosophy

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Book Chapter

  • Akagawa, Natsuko (2016). Intangible heritage and embodiment: Japan's influence on global heritage discourse. In William Logan, Mairead Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel (Ed.), A companion to heritage studies (pp. 69-86) Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Akagawa, Natsuko and Cote, Joost (2015). The Pacific war experience of Dutch Eurasian civilians in Java, 1942-1948. In Christina Twomey and Ernest Koh (Ed.), The Pacific War: Aftermaths, Remembrance and Culture (pp. 110-132) Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Akagawa, N. and Sirisrisak, T. (2013). Cultural rights and conservation of Old Bangkok. In Chris Baker (Ed.), Protecting Siam's Heritage (pp. 149-166) Seattle, WA, United States: University of Washington Press.

  • Sirisrisak, Tiamsoon and Akagawa, Natsuko (2012). Concept and practice of cultural landscape protection in Thailand. In Ken Taylor and Jane L. Lennon (Ed.), Managing cultural landscapes (pp. 173-191) Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203128190

  • Smith, Laurajane and Akagawa, Natsuko (2009). Introduction. In Laurajane Smith and Natsuko Akagawa (Ed.), Intangible Heritage (pp. 1-9) London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203884973

Journal Article

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

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