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Daniel White

Image Credit: Daniel White

Institute of Japanese Studies

Postdoc 2017-Dec 2020

Anthropology of Japan; affect and emotion; affective computing and emotional AI; wellbeing



2011 Ph.D. Anthropology, Rice University (Houston, TX)

2012 M.A. International Relations, Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan)

2006 M.A. Japanese Literature, University of Hawaii (Honolulu, HI)

2002 B.A. Anthropology; Religious Studies; Japanese, University of California Santa Barbara (SB, CA)



2017 - present

Senior Researcher

Institute of Japanese Studies

Department of History and Cultural Studies

Free University Berlin (Berlin, Germany)


2012 - 2017

Assistant Professor (2012 - 2015), Associate Professor (2015-2017)

Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies

Hosei University (Tokyo, Japan)


2013 - 2014

Adjunct Professor

Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies

University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan)


2007 - 2008

Adjunct Professor

Department of English

Houston Community College (Houston, TX)


Anthropology of Japan; Japanese cultural policy; affect and emotion; the literature of Murakami Haruki; public broadcasting; soft power and nation branding; cultural dimensions of robotics, affective computing, and emotional AI; wellbeing; the contemplative sciences


2019 “Critique as Connection within the Anthropology of Affect and the Senses.” Special Issue: Feeling (with) Japan: Affective, Sensory and Material Entanglements in the Field. Asian Anthropology, Vol. 18, Issue 3.

2019 “The Future of LOVOT: Between Models of Emotion and Experiments in Affect in Japan.” Platypus: The CASTAC Blog (July 23).

2019 “Japan’s Emerging Emotional Tech.” With Patrick W. Galbraith. Anthropology News. Vol. 60, Issue 1 (January/February)

2018 “Is Robot Empathy a Trap? Scientists Explore What Robot-Human Intimacy Could Mean for Love, Work, Communication, and Even War.” Podcast. With Hirofumi Katsuno, Jennifer Robertson, and Chip Colwell. Sapiens Magazine. (August 18.)

2018 “Contemplating the Robotic Embrace: Introspection for Affective Anthropology.” More-than-Human Worlds: A NatureCulture Blog Series. (June 20.)

2018 “Critique in the Gap.” Comment on Sasha Newell’s “The Affectiveness of Symbols: Materiality, Magicality, and the Limits of the Antisemiotic Turn.” Current Anthropology Vol. 59, Issue 1.

2018 “The Globalization of Melancholic Affect: Escaping Soft Power through the Literature of Murakami Haruki,” in Paul Hansen and Blai Guarne eds., Escaping Japan: Reflections on Estrangement and Exile in the Twenty-First Century. Routledge. 

2017 “Affect: An Introduction,” in Daniel White guest ed., “Openings and Retrospectives.” Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 32, Issue 2.

2017 “Notes Toward an Affective Anthropology of International Relations.” GIS Journal, Vol. 3.

2015 “Consumption as Care: Media, Labor, and Ethics Among Women Professionals in Japan.” GIS Journal, Vol. 1.

2015 “How the Center Holds: Administering Soft Power and Cute Culture in Japan,” in John Ertl, John Mock, John McCreery, and Gregory Poole eds., Reframing Diversity in the Anthropology of Japan. Kanazawa University Press. 

2015 Book Review. Anne Allison. Precarious Japan (Duke University Press). Monumenta Nipponica.

2014 “Tears, Capital, Ethics: Television and the Public Sphere in Japan,” in Jie Yang ed., Markets and Affects in East Asia. Routledge.

2014 Book Review. Christine Yano. Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific (Duke University Press). Social Science Journal Japan

2011 “Paranoia, Public Spheres and Time in Tokyo: A Report From the Ground Six Days after the March 11 Quake.” Anthropology News May 2011: Energy and Energopolitics, V53(5).



2018 Panelist. “The Mechanics of Fear: Re-envisioning Anxiety through Emerging Technologies of Affect.” The Multifaceted Relationship between Fear and Technology Conference. Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin, Germany).

2018 Invited speaker. “Markets of Care: Affective Arrangements of Technology and Wellbeing in Contemporary Japan.” Affective Arrangements in Mental Health Care Settings (Berlin, Germany).

2018 Panelist. “The Soft Aesthetics of Hard Policy: Cross-Sections of Cute Design in Japanese Popular, Political and Technological Cultures.” European Association of Social Anthropologists (Stockholm, Sweden).

2018 Panelist. “Augmented Reality in the Affect-Emotion Gap: Technological Interventions in Sensation and Memory in Japan.” The Association of Social Anthropologists Conference (Oxford, UK).

2018 Guest Lecture. “Technologies of Care: Engineering Affect in Social Robots, Virtual Assistants and other Emotional Machines.” Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Free University of Berlin (Berlin, Germany).

2018  Invited speaker, with Hirofumi Katsuno. “First Encounters in Human-Robot Interaction: Exploring Technical Methods for Affective Anthropology.” Robots and Artificial Intelligence in Contemporary Japanese Society. Symposium. Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan).

2018 Discussant. “Entanglements and Meshworks in Japan: Japan Through the Lens of Posthumanism.” Association for Asian Studies 2018 Annual Conference (Washington DC).

2018 Invited speaker, with Elena Giannoulis. “Emotional Machines: Toward an Affective History of Technology and Intimacy in Japan.” Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin, Germany).

2017 Invited panelist, with Elena Giannoulis. “Technical Transformations of Intimacy in Japan and their Implications for Emotional AI Research.” AI Love You. Workshop (Potsdam University, Potsdam, Germany).

2017 Invited panelist. “The Affect-Emotion Gap: Anxiety, Adequacy, and Affordance in Japan’s Cultural Administration.” The Skills of Feeling with the World - Second Workshop, Affecting Affordances of Power and Difference (Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan).

2017 Invited speaker. “Ironman Japan: Fieldwork Training Regimes for an Affective Anthropology.” Modern Japanese Studies Program Lecture Series (Hokkaido University, Institute for International Collaboration).

2016 Organizer and Panelist. “Exhausting Narratives in Ironman Japan: An Affective Fieldwork Training Regime.” Extreme Anthropology: Fieldwork Training Regimes for New Terrain. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (Minneapolis MN).

2016 Discussant. “Crafting Culture as Contemporary Concept in Japan.” East Asian Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (Sapporo, Japan). 

2015 Panelist. “Toward a Mutual Subject: Soft Power in Anthropology and International Relations.” An Anthropology of International Relations. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (Denver CO).

2015 Discussant. Returns, Longings, and Vicissitudes of Changing Identities and Popular Culture in Contemporary Japan. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (Denver CO).

2015 Invited panelist. “Space as Resonance: Affective Belonging in and through the Literature of Murakami Haruki.” Exploring Spaces in Japanese Literature. Free University Berlin (Berlin, Germany). 

2015 Symposium Organizer. “The Politics of Energy Transition Post-Fukushima: Anthropological Lessons from Europe and North America.” Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies (Tokyo, Japan). 

2015 Panelist. “When is Good Art? An Ethnography of Free Time in Tokyo.” 8th International Critical Theory Conference in Rome (Rome, Italy).

2014 Panelist. “The Arts of Government: Producing Japan's Cute Ambassadors.” Art and Authority in East Asia. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (Washington DC).

2014 Panelist. “Reinventing Regional Conviviality: The Global Implications of Soft Power in East Asia.” Global and Regional Powers in a Changing World: East Asia (Re)Surging. FLASCO-ISA, Joint International Conference (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

2013 Panelist. “Japanese Soft Power and the Changing Conviviality of East Asian Regionalism.” Mediated (Counter-)Publics and Emergent Regionalist Imaginaries in East and Southeast Asia. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (Chicago, IL).

2013 Panelist. “The Ethics of Sound in Japanese Public Broadcasting.” Love and Sentimentalism in Popular Music. Royal Holloway University (Egham, United Kingdom).

2012 Organizer and panelist. “Localmotion: Japanese Trains as Melodramatic Medium in Commercial Advertising.” The Melodramatic Politics of Capital in East Asia. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA).

2012 Panelist. “Meiwaku and the Adaptive Unconscious: How Anxious Affects Sustain Bureaucratic Culture in Japan.” Culture as Critical Theory, Academia Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan).

2011 Panelist. “The Affect-Emotion Gap: Soft Power, Nation Branding and Cultural Diplomacy in Japan.” From Soft Power to Grassroots: State and Citizenship in Contemporary Japan. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (Montreal, Canada).

2011 Organizer and panelist. “Soft Power and the Affective Registers of Bureaucratic Practice in ‘Japanese’ Cultural Administration.” Feeling Japan: Affect, Nation, and Ethnographic Design. Asian Studies Conference Japan (Tokyo, Japan).

2011 Panelist. “The Informational Architecture of Japan’s Public Sphere.” Workshop. On the Brink of Disaster. Temple University Japan (Tokyo, Japan).

2010 Panelist. “Institutional Heteronomy, Individual Autonomy: Murakami Haruki’s Network Inside Out.” Escaping Japan: Inside and Outside. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting (New Orleans, LA).

2010 Panelist. “Managing Culture: Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy, and National Sentiment in Japanese Bureaucracies.” Asian Studies Conference Japan (Tokyo, Japan).

2010 Panelist. “Religion as a Public Problem: Managing Dangerous Sentiment in Li Ying’s Yasukuni.” Escaping ‘Japan’: Integration, Dissidence and Location. Japan Anthropology Workshop (Austin, TX).

2009 Invited Panelist. “Affective Bureaucracy: Structures, Sentiments, and Strategies of Cultural Administration in Japan.” Plenary panel, Cultural Essentialism and the Anthropology of Japan. Anthropologists of Japan in Japan (Tokyo, Japan).

2009 Panelist. “Tears, Capital, Ethics: Television and the Public Sphere in Japan (Part Two)."  (Re)presenting Sexuality: Embodiment, Performance and Popular Culture. Conference of the Society for East Asian Anthropology, American Anthropological Association (Taipei, Taiwan).

2009 Panelist. “Tears, Capital, Ethics: Television and the Public Sphere in Japan (Part One). Panel and Workshop, Market and Affect in East Asia. American Ethnological Society/Canadian Anthropological Canadian Anthropology Society-Société Canadienne d'Anthropologie (Vancouver, Canada).

2006 Panelist. “Negotiating Identity: Practices of Self-Fashioning and Consumption in Wataya Risa’s Keritai Senaka.” School of Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Studies Conference (Honolulu, HI).