Rebekah Clements

Rebekah Clements

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


Rebekah Clements is an ICREA at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She completed degrees in law and Asian studies at the Australian National University where she was awarded the University Medal, before obtaining an MA in classical Japanese literature from Waseda University in 2008. She completed her PhD in East Asian History from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) in 2011. Following her PhD she was a research associate at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, working on the Leverhulme-funded project "Translation and vernacularisation in pre-modern East Asia" (PI: P.Kornicki), and held a junior research fellowship from Queens' College from 2012-2015 where she completed her first monograph, A Cultural History of Translation in Early Modern Japan (Cambridge University Press, 2015). From 2015-2018 she held a lectureship and then an associate professorship at Durham University. She joined ICREA in October 2018.

Research interests

Rebekah is a cultural historian of Japan, specializing in the Tokugawa period (1600-1868). Her research focuses on language, society, and the characteristics of Japanese early modernity, as understood in the broader context of East Asia. She is currently working on Korean exiles present in Japan following the Imjin War of 1592-1598. This work takes place within her project funded by the European Research Council, "The Aftermath of the East Asian War of 1592-1598" (2018-2023). The Aftermath project is a large scale attempt to understand the legacy of the Imjin War, also known as the East Asian War of 1592-1598 and Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Invasions of Korea. This conflict involved over 500,000 combatants from Japan, China, and Korea; up to 100,000 Korean civilians were removed to Japan. It was the largest conflict of the world of the sixteenth century and involved the largest successful overseas landings in world history by that date.

Selected publications

- Yokomizo H, Clements R & Knott J 2022, 『日本古典文学を世界にひらく Opening Classical Japanese Literature to the World: EAJS(ヨーロッパ日本研究協会)で発表しよう Presentations at EAJS』, Tokyo: Benseisha.

- Clements R 2022, 'Alternate Attendance Parades in the Japanese Domain of Satsuma, Seventeenth to Eighteenth Centuries: Pottery, Power and Foreign Spectacle', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, vol.32, pp 135-158.

- Baihui D & Clements R 2022, 'Fighting for Forests: Protection and Exploitation of Kŏje Island Timber during the East Asian War of 1592 to 1598', Environmental History, vol.27, no.3, pp 415-440.

- Clements R 2022, 'The possibility of translation: A comparison of the translation theories of Ogyū Sorai and Ōtsuki Gentaku' in Brentes S, Hoyrups J, and O'Brien B.R. Narratives on Translation across Eurasia and Africa: From Babylonia to Colonial India, Begijnhof, Brepolis Publishing, pp 341-351.

- Clements R 2022, 'Discussion Paper', in Li D, Aoyama R, & Wong S, Brush Conversation in the Sinographic Cosmopolis, Routledge, London.

Selected research activities

Rebekah Clements & Seung Yeon Sang, Stories of Clay: Discovering Chosŏn Korean Potters in Tokugawa Japan, 7 February 2022. Stories of Clay is a digital history project that combines the study of heirloom ceramic pieces and sherds, together with documentary evidence, to trace the experiences of different groups of Korean potters, who were captured by Japanese troops and brought to Japan after the Imjin War. We showcase artefacts from around thirty international museums, including the National Diet Library of Japan, the National Museum of Korea, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York.