My main research interest is the history of cultural developments following the Meiji Restoration in Japan, along with cinematic anime more recently.
I have a long-standing interest in the history of cultural and political developments following the Meiji Restoration of 1868. This culminated in the publication of The Meiji Restoration: Monarchism, Mass Media and Cnservative Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) More recently I also developed a focus of research examining the aesthetics of anime, with a particular emphasis on the animated features of directors such as Miyazaki Hayao, Kon Satoshi and Shinkai Makoto. This led to the publication of Anime Aesthetics: Japanese Animation and the Post-Cinematic Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Since 2019 my research focus returned to the culture of the Meiji period with a renewed interest in visual culture and mass-circulated illustrated newspapers. I held a research fellowship at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto from July 2019 to March 2020 coordinating a collaborative research team that examined discourse of "civilization and enlightenment" as mediated in popular culture in the period 1868 -1890. This entailed a personal focus on illustrated newspapers and the role of traditional literati and artists in developing distinctive forms of news coverage in the tabloid press. For my most recent research on this see "Gesaku and the renegotiation of ‘civilization and enlightenment’ through illustrated news" in Japan Forum (2020).
- Swale A. (2020) Gesaku and the renegotiation of ‘civilization and enlightenment’ through illustrated news. Japan Forum http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09555803.2020.1823453.
- Swale A. (2017) Memory and forgetting: examining the treatment of traumatic historical memory in Grave of the Fireflies and The Wind Rises. Japan Forum 29(4): 518-536. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09555803.2017.1321570.
- Swale A. (2015) Miyazaki Hayao and the Aesthetics of Imagination: Nostalgia and Memory in Spirited Away. Asian Studies Review 39(3): 413-429. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10357823.2015.1056086.
- Swale AD. (2015) Anime aesthetics: Japanese animation and the “post-cinematic” imagination. 1-167. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137463357.
- Swale A. (2014) The Premise of Fidelity: Science, Visuality, and Representing the Real in Nineteenth-century Japan by Maki Fukuoka. The Journal of Japanese Studies 40(1): 175-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/jjs.2014.0044.