PEAK Staff Profile

Yijiang Zhong, MA (University of Toronto), PhD (University of Chicago)
Associate Professor – Japan in East Asia


Yijiang Zhong Professor Yijiang ZHONG grew up in south China before going to college in Beijing. After working as a flight attendant for six years for Air China, be decided to pursue his interest in studying religion and history and entered graduate schools, first at the University of Toronto where he got his MA degree, and then at the University of Chicago where he got his PhD. He conducted two-year research as a postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Singapore before joining the University of Tokyo faculty. Among many other things, Professor Zhong enjoys first and foremost meeting people from different cultures because after living in many countries he realizes that it is cultural diversity that makes this world interesting and beautiful.

Research Interests

Professor Zhong’s research has three components. First is intellectual and cultural history of Japan. He is completing a manuscript, based on his PhD dissertation, which deals with the history of Shinto in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan (1600-1889). His second research interest concerns religion and secularity. He starts from asking the basic question: what is religion? The third component of his research is about the historical relationship of liberalism and nationalism. His next project attempts to look into the history of the transformation of classical liberalism to modern liberalism, nationalism and imperialism in late nineteenth century Europe and Japan. He looks forward to exploring these topics with undergraduate and graduate students.

Selected Publications

“Freedom, Religion and the Making of the Modern Sate in Japan, 1868-89” Asian Studies Review, Vol. 38, No.1 (December 2013), pp.53-70.
“Kannazuki -kinseiki ni okeru Shinto to ken’i kōchiku” Gendai shisō, Vo.41, No.16 (December 2013), pp.174-197.
“Ritual, Purity and Power: Rethinking Shinto in Restoration Japan” Politics and Religion in Modern Japan: Red Sun, White Lotus. Edited by Roy Starrs. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp.28-53.