Dr John Breen PhD

Email address: Jb8nichibun@gmail.com

Institutional Affiliation: Professor emeritus, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, Japan


John Breen is professor emeritus at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, Japan. He earned his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Cambridge, and then taught Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has published widely in English and Japanese on issues relating to the modern imperial institution and the history of Shinto.

Current research projects on modern monarchy:

A study of the Japanese monarchy during the mid-nineteenth century restoration

Forthcoming, current or recent research publications on modern monarchy:


Meiji the Great: Monarchy and Power in Restoration Japan, Oxford University Press.


“The Quality of Emperorship in 21st Century Japan: Reflections on the Reiwa Accession.” Japan Focus 18: 12,1 (2020) https://apjjf.org/2020/18/Breen.html

“Ornamental Diplomacy: Emperor Meiji and the Monarchs of the Modern World.” In Robert Hellyer and Harald Fuess ed.  The Meiji Restoration: Japan as a Global Nation. (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

“Abdication, Succession and Japan’s Imperial Future: An Emperor’s Dilemma.” Japan Focus 17:9, 3 (2019). https://apjjf.org/2019/09/Breen.html

(with Mark Teeuwen) A Social History of the Ise Shrines: Divine Capital. (Bloomsbury, 2017)




Dr Cindy McCreery
Department of History, A18 Brennan MacCallum Building, University of Sydney