Gavin H. Whitelaw
Executive Director
Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University

CGIS South
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

B.A. Wesleyan University
A.M. Harvard University
Ph.D. Yale University

Book Chapters
2015  "Itadakimasu: Digesting Konbini" in Tokyo Totem: A Guide to Tokyo, Edwin Gardner and Christiaan Fruneaux, eds., Tokyo: Flick Studio, pp. 160-169,

2015 "Mapping Konbinity," in Tokyo Totem: A Guide to Tokyo, Edwin Gardner and Christiaan Fruneaux​, eds., Tokyo: Flick Studio, pp. 128-131,

2015 "Konbini Morphology," in Tokyo Totem: A Guide to Tokyo, Edwin Gardner and Christiaan Fruneaux​, eds., Tokyo: Flick Studio, pp. 284-287.

2014 "Shelf Lives and the Labors of Loss: Food, Livelihoods, and Japan's Convenience Stores," in Capturing Contemporary Japan, Satsuki Kawano, Glenda S. Roberts, and Susan Long, eds., Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, pp. 135-159.

2013 "Counter Intelligence: The Contingencies of Clerkship at the Epicenter of Convenience Culture" in Organizational Anthropology: Doing Anthropology In and Among Organizations, Christina Garsten and Anette Nyqvist, eds., London: Berg, pp. 29-42.

2007 "Rice Ball Rivalries: Japanese Convenience Stores and the Appetite of Late Capitalism," in Fast Food/Slow Food: The Cultural Economy of the Global Food System. Richard Wilk, ed. New York: Rowman & Littlefield,
pp. 131-144.

Articles (Refereed)

2016 "Of Beans and Bonds: Canadian Farmers, Japanese buyers, and the Moral Economy of the Non-GM Soybean," Contemporary Japan 29(1):1-20.

2016 "The Waste Basket? Trailing Expired Food in Japan's Konbini," Gastronomica. 16(3):102-110.
2008 "Embodying Labour: Work as Fieldwork," in Anthropology of Work Review, Special Edition with Rebecca Prentice, 29(3):53-54.

2008 "Learning from Small Change: Clerkship and the Labors of Convenience," Anthropology of Work Review. 29(3):62-69, (2008).

Articles (General)

In press  Chigusa and the Art of Tea, edited by Louise Allison Cort and Andrew M. Watsky, in Material Culture.
2015 "Interview with Carolyn Stevens, Professor of Japanese Studies and Director of the Japanese Studies Center, Monash University," Japan Studies: The Frontier, Tokyo: ICU Japan Studies Program, (10):7-16.

2015 Japan’s Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century: Contemporary Responses to Depopulation and Socioeconomic Decline, edited by Peter Matanle and Anthony S. Rausch with the Shrinking Regions Research Group, in Social Science Journal Japan, 18(2):279-282.
2015 The Japanese Family in Transition, by Susan Hall Vogel with Steven Vogel, in Asian Journal of Social Science, 43(3):338-342.
2014 Coffee Life in Japan, by Merry White, in Social Science Journal Japan, 17(2):270-273.
2013 The Japanese House: Material Culture in the Modern Home, by Inge Daniels, in Social Science Journal Japan, 16(2):343-346.

2011 "Cityscape as Literary Genba – An Interview with Edward Fowler," in Japan Studies: The Frontier (4) Tokyo: ICU Japan Studies Program.

2010 "McZemi: Engaging with Culture through the Golden Arches," ICU e-Newletter, Tokyo: International Christian University. 

2009 "Thick Description and Student Multimedia Projects," ICU Faculty Development Newsletter, Tokyo: International Christian University 14(2):7-10.

2008 "Interview with Professor Glenda Roberts, Waseda University," Anthropology News 49(9):53-54.

2006 "Konbini: The Source Japan’s Liveliness," Tokyo: JAL News.

2005 "Behind the Counter: Corporations, Families and the Changing Face of the Mom-and-Pop," in The Family Revisited. Yukari Kawahara, ed. Tokyo: Waseda University Working Paper Series, pp. 43-62.

2005 "The World of Konbini," in The Fulbrighter. Tokyo: Japan-U.S. Educational Commission, 25:7.

Book Reviews

2013 The Japanese House: Material Culture in the Modern Home, by Inge Daniels, in Social Science Journal Japan, 16(2)):343-346.

2009 Escape from Work: Freelancing Youth and the Challenge to Corporate Japan, by Reiko Kosugi (trans. Ross Mouer), in Social Science Journal Japan, 12(1):158-161.

Grants and Fellowships 

​2015-2017 Co-Investigator, Research Grant, MEXT (Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology)

2014-2015 ICU Grant for Research Overseas, ICU

2012-2013 ICU Faculty Improvement Grant, ICU

2011-2012 Research Grant, Social Science Research Institute, ICU

2009-2011 Chief Investigator, Young Researchers Start-Up Grant, MEXT (Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology)

2007-2008 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University

2004–2007 Graduate Prize Fellowship, Yale University Council on East Asian Studies

2004–2005 Fulbright Dissertation Research Fellowship 

Presentations (Selected)

2015 "At Your Konbini: Small Stores, Global Commerce, and Livelihood in Contemporary Japan." Meiji University, Department of Global Japanese Studies, Tokyo.

2014 "Konbini Cuisine: Towards a Gastronomy of Japan's Convenience Culture,"  Ei’ichi Shibusawa-Seigo Arai Professorship Invited Lecture, University of Missouri Saint-Louis Saint Louis, MO.

2014 "Konbini Cuisine: Towards a Gastronomy of Japan's Convenience Culture," Yale University, Department of Anthropology, New Haven, CT.

2014 "The Convenience Store: Globalizing the Everyday in Contemporary Japan," NEH Professorship-Sponsored Campus Lecture, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

2014 "After Convenience: Konbini, Culture and Japan’s Social Infrastructure in the Wake of 3.11," Economics & Business Seminar Series Lecture, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

2013 "Mingei and the Material Life of Japan's Konbini." Yuasa Memorial Museum, ICU, Tokyo (May 11).

2012 "POP Culture: A Convenient Approach." Teaching Japanese Popular Culture Conference, National University of Singapore Department of Japanese Studies, Singapore (November 12).

2012 "After Convenience: Konbini, Culture and Japan’s Social Infrastructure in the Wake of 3.11." Japan Creative Centre, Embassy of Japan, Singapore (March 6).

2012 "At Your Konbini: Small Stores, Large Chains, and Livelihood in Contemporary Japan." National University of Singapore, Department of Japanese Studies, Singapore (March 5).

2011 "At Your Konbini: An Anthropological Exploration of Japan’s Premier Counter Culture," KCJS Special Lecture, Doshisha University, Kyoto (February 23).

2010 "Really? Convenience Stores Scholarship: Understanding Japan’s Convenience Culture through the (Originally) American Convenience Store," Tama Area University Academic Consortium (TAC) Annual Meeting, International Christian University, Tokyo (November 30).

2010 "Maintaining Convenience: Franchising the Family in Japan Today," Families and Work: Transformations and Continuities in Contemporary Society, British Association of Japan Studies, SOAS, London (September 10).

2010 "Travails of Trash: Convenience Stores and the Poetics of Paracapitalism in Contemporary Japan," Markets, Moneys, and Mobilities: Transnational Organizing Panel, European Association of Social Anthropology Annual Meeting, University of Ireland, Maynooth (August 25).

2010 "Shoptalk: Lives and Livelihoods from the Epicenter of Convenience Culture," Contemporary Japan Forum, Institute of Social Science, Tokyo University, Tokyo, (January 28).

2009 "Konbini-ent Cuisine," The History and Contemporary Forms of Japanese Food Culture, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA (November 9).

2009 "Konbini-baito: Youth at Work in Transitional Japan," Youthwork in Contemporary Japan, Temple University/Sophia University Workshop, Tokyo (June 28).

2009 "Konbini: Towards the Anthropology of a Global Retail Template," Exploring the Significance of an Anthropology of Business, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (June 12).

2009 "Transitional Japan: Youth, Konbini,and Everyday Life" Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series, Sophia University, Tokyo (January 8).

2008 "Konbini Culture in Japan, part of a three-speaker symposium, The Konbini Are Coming! Japanese Convenience Store Culture Takes on America, The Japan Society of New York, New York (April 17). 
2008 "’All of a Sudden, I Started Wanting to Work’": The Speed and Familiarity of Konbini Employment," Youth in Japan Panel, Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA (March 18).

2007 "Learning from Small Change: Clerkship and the Labors of Convenience." Embodying Labor: Fieldwork as Work Panel (co-organizer), Association of American Anthropology Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. (November 28).

2007 "At Your Konbini: Globalizing Corner Store Commerce in Contemporary Japan," Japan Forum, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University, MA (September 7).

2007 "Selling Convenience: Marking, Waste, and Store Distinction," Indiana University/University of Illinois East Asian Studies Doctoral Dissertation Workshop, University of Illinois, IL (May 4).

2006 "Welcome and Hello: Japanese Society and Konbini Culture," Anthropology Lunch Lecture Series, Doshisha University, Kyoto (June 10).

2005 "Japanese Society as seen through the Convenience Store," Minpaku, Osaka (October 15).

Positions and Professional Service 

2014-2015 Visiting Scholar, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge MA.

2014 Spring Visiting Professor, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

2011-Present Editorial Board, Social Science Journal Japan, Tokyo University, Tokyo.

2010-2014 Coordinator, Japan Studies Program, International Christian University, Tokyo.

2009-Present Executive Board Member, Association of Asian Studies/Asian Studies Conference Japan (ASCJ).


Japan Anthropology Workshop (JAWS)
Association of American Anthropology (AAA)
Association of Asian Studies (AAS)
American Ethnological Society (AES)
Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW)
Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA)
Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA)
Society for Urban Anthropology (SUA)