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

- Clements R 2020, "Imagining China in Tokugawa Japan: Legends, Classics, and Historical Terms by Wai-Ming Ng (review)." Journal of Japanese Studies, vol.46, issue 2, pp.467-471.

Selected research activities

2020 saw the launch of the Database of Research on the Imjin War, a major output of my European Research Council project Aftermath of The East Asian War of 1592-1593. This groundbreaking database brings together bibliographic information on books, articles, and dissertations relating to the Imjin War (also known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Invasions of Korea), making that information available to scholars in one easily searchable location for the first time. Until now, a regional vision of the Imjin War, which involved Japan, China, and Korea and was the largest conflict of the 16th century world, has been hampered by linguistic and disciplinary divisions between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean studies. This multilingual database with its English interface is an important step towards rectifying the issue. Thus far it contains over 600 entries from nine languages.The database has attracted widespread attention and has been positively reviewed by the The Digital Orientalist, an online magazine about the use of digital humanities in Asian Studies, affiliated with The American Oriental Society.

Responding to the changing needs of the post-COVID research environment, in 2020 I also re-launched the research seminar series of the Aftermath of The East Asian War of 1592-1593 project as an online webinar series.This monthly Zoom webinar allows the Aftermath project team to present our research to an international audience and to host guest speakers working on related topics.The new format has increased our participation numbers and the reach of our research. On average we have around 30 participants from 4 continents at each webinar.

In 2020 I also presented my work as an invited speaker at the Université de Paris Diderot (17/17/20) and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS)(3/12/2020).