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Tsuneo Akaha
Casa Fuente Building CF300J
(831) 647-3564

Professor Akaha is a native of Japan and first came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student. After graduating from Waseda University in Tokyo, he returned to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies at the University of Southern California (USC) and received his PhD in International Relations in 1981. Before joining the Institute in 1989 he had taught at USC, Kansas State University, and Bowling Green State University (Ohio). He teaches courses on human security, international migration, multiculturalism, East Asia, and Russia-East Asia Relations. He has authored or edited 11 books and authored over 100 journal articles and book chapters on topics ranging from human security and migration in East Asia to Japan’s relations with the U.S., Russia, China, and Korea. His co-edited book The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Balancing Soft and Hard Power in East Asia received an Ohira Memorial Award Special Prize.

Akaha has received many grants and awards, including a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship, a Japan Foundation Professional Fellowship, and research grants from the U.S. Institute of Peace, Association for Asian Studies, Freeman Foundation, and Center for Global Partnership. He has also served as president of Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast. He has given invited lectures in countries including Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkey, Canada, France, and Sweden.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

Seminar: Multiculturalism - Global Discourse and National Policy and Practice

The course will review the evolution of global discourse on multiculturalism as an approach to protect the rights of both majority populations and minority ethnic, indigenous, and migrant communities to their respective cultures. It will also examine national policies and practice in multiculturalism in selective countries. The underlying concern of this course is how to preserve cultural diversity in the increasingly globalized world in a way that is politically sustainable and morally and legally justifiable. After reviewing the evolution of global multiculturalism discourse, the students will conduct an in-depth analysis of multiculturalism policy and practice of selective countries from different parts of the world and incorporate their findings into a report to be submitted to an international agency such as UNESCO. The report will also include recommendations regarding norms, principles, and rules for further advancing the cause of multiculturalism at the global and national levels.

Spring 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Workshop: Russia and East Asia

This workshop will examine Russia’s relations with the East Asian region. Russia’s recently declared “pivot” to the east is an indication of the growing importance Moscow attaches to its strategic, political, and economic interests in East Asia, particularly with respect to China, Japan, and South Korea. The workshop will examine the nature of those interests and Moscow's policies to realize those interests. A special feature of this workshop is that a small group of MIIS and Middlebury College students will be selected to take part in a fully funded field research trip to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk in March. The trip will include a series of meetings with: (1) professors, researchers, and students at the Far Eastern Federal University's School of Regional and International Studies in Vladivostok, as well as the Economic Research Institute, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Khabarovsk; (2) officials of the administrations of the Khabarovsk and Primorye regions; and (3) journalists and nongovernmental organization representatives in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. Upon return you will write a research paper based on these meetings. The other students who are not selected to participate in the field research will also write a research paper on a topic approved by the instructor.

Interested students need to apply for participation in this workshop, including the field trip. Submit a letter of interest and current resume to Professor Tsuneo Akaha and Professor Anna Vassilieva.

Spring 2017 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop, Spring 2018 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

View in Course Catalog

This course will introduce students to migration as an object of policy studies, various aspects of migration as a social phenomenon, and policies designed to encourage, discourage, or otherwise affect the flow of people within and between countries. Among the issues to be addressed are: economic-development aspects of migration; human trafficking and relevant policy; gender and migration; public health issues associated with migration; demography-development link; migration as a factor in international relations; terrorism & border control issues relative to migration; refugee issues and policy; and the integration of migrants at destination. The course will also introduce students to international laws and other norms and frameworks dealing with migration and migrants, as well as to international organizations and non-governmental organizations actively involved with migration issues. Illustrative examples of problems of migration, migrants, and policy responses will be drawn from various countries and regions of the world. Students will begin developing skills in analyzing demographic, social, economic, and political factors in the migration process; dynamics of and policy responses to forced migration, the effectiveness of legal and policy instruments to regulate migration, and national and human security implications of migration.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

The concept of "human security" was first introduced in the 1994 Human
Development Report by the United Nations Development Program. It has
since attracted growing attention in the academic and policy
communities around the world. The concept has also become part of
official policy in some countries, including Japan and Canada. In
contrast to the traditional concept of "national security" with its
focus on the security of the state against military threats, "human
security" emphasizes the protection of individual citizens¹ security
not only from war and other forms of physical violence but also from
threats of a political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental
nature. At the most fundamental level, ³human security² is defined as
"freedom from fear" and "freedom from want," but beyond that there are
competing approaches to it, as well as critical challenges to it both
as a concept and as a guide for national or international policy.

This course will critically examine:

(1) "human security" as a concept;

(2) opportunities and challenges in translating the concept into
policy"; and

(3) case studies of human security problems and policies
from around the world.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Seminar: Foreign Policy, Trade & Security East Asia

East Asia is a dynamic region of great importance by virtue of its population size, economic dynamism, and political and security challenges. The impact of the region’s international relations is felt not only by the countries geographically located in the region but also by the rest of the world. The region is characterized by diversity in terms of historical, civilizational, and ethno-cultural backgrounds, political systems, levels of economic development, and foreign relations, as well as global impact, making regional relations very complex and sometimes very difficult, for major powers and smaller powers alike. This course will examine a broad range of foreign policy, trade, and security issues that present both opportunities and challenges to the regional countries and the United States. The students will learn first-hand the perspectives of local experts on the regional issues the seminar addresses through guest-lectures, interviews, library research, and discussions with local university students. Visit the East Asia Practicum site for more information http://sites.miis.edu/eastasia/important-deadlines/

Dec 16- $100 deposit due; Mar 3 - remainder of program fee due.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Areas of Interest

Akaha’s interests include international travel, photography, reading, and nature hikes. He is committed to promoting international cooperation in higher education and helped the Institute establish exchange programs with Waseda University. He has also served as an Open Society Institute-funded International Scholar to serve as an academic mentor to young professors in Russia (Saint Petersburg, Perm, Ekaterinburg), and Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek). He is also on the International Advisory Board for the School of Regional and International Studies of the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia and the Mongolian Development Research Center in Ulaan Baatar.


Academic Degrees

  • PhD & MA in International Relations, University of Southern California
  • BA in Political Science, Waseda University, Tokyo and Oregon State University

Professor Akaha has been teaching at the Institute since 1989.



  • Japan in Global Ocean Politics (1985)
  • Editor/co-editor of Russia and East Asia: Informal and Gradual Integration (2014)
  • The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Balancing Soft and Hard Power in East Asia (2010), winner of Masayoshi Ohira Special Prize, 2011
  • Crossing National Borders: Human Migration Issues in Northeast Asia (2005)
  • The Future of North Korea (2002)
  • Politics and Economics in Northeast Asia: Nationalism and Regionalism in Contention (1999)
  • Politics and Economics in the Russian Far East: Changing Ties with Asia-Pacific (1997)
  • International Political Economy (1991)
  • and Japan in the Posthegemonic World (1990)

Editorial Board Member

  • International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Asian International Studies Review


  • ​“Putin’s Russia and Today’s Japan: Attitudes and Challenges,” Global Asia, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Fall 2016) (with Anna Vassilieva)
  • ​“Russia and Japan: From Distant Neighbors to Future Partners,” in Victoria Panova and Artyom Lukin, eds. Russia and Japan: Looking Together into the Future, Vladivostok: Far Eastern Federal University, 2016.
  • “Hokuto-ajia Chiiki ni okeru Chiiki Togo Katei” (The regional integration process in Northeast Asia), in Taizo Iida, ed.,​ Hokuto-ajia no Chiiki Koryu: Kodai kara Gendai, soshite Mirai e (Regional exchange in Northeast Asia: From ancient times to the present and the future), Tokyo: Kokusai Shoin, 2015.
  • ​“The ‘Comfort Women’ Issue: The Moral, Legal, and Political Challenges in Japan-South Korea Relations,” in Mahendra Gaur, ed., Studies on Japan, Country-specific Study Project, Vol. 3, New Delhi: Foreign Policy Research Center, 2015. 
  • "Cause for Optimism in Russia-Japan Relations, East Asia Forum, Crawford School for Economics and Government, Australia National University, July 2016 (with Anna Vassilieva)​. Available at: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2016/07/19/cause-for-optimism-in-russia-ja…
  • “’Comfort Women’: A Lasting Barrier to Japan-South Korea Reconciliation,”​​ Global Asia, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Fall 2015). 
  • Co-edited (with Anna Vassilieva): Russia and East Asia: Informal and Gradual Integration, London: Routledge, 2014.