Personal profile


Ra Mason is an internationally recognised specialist in the international relations of the Indo-Pacific, with a specific focus on Japan. His work draws on theories of risk, security and social construction to understand the complex relations between regional alliances, states and non-state actors. He is also interested in wider questions about global politics and conflict. Ra's monograph, Japan's Relations with North Korea and the Recalibration of Risk, was highly acclaimed by specialists in the field and was followed by coauthorship of two further breakthrough books on Japan's international relations and foreign policy, Regional Risk and Security in Japan: Whither the Everyday? and Risk State: Japan's Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty.


After completing his double-degree PhD2 (University of Sheffield/Tohoku University) and a teaching fellowship in Japanese Studies at the University of Leeds, Ra became Course Leader for Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) from where he went on to win a prestigious JSPS Fellowship to research nationalism in Okinawa at the University of the Ryukyus. He was subsequently appointed as Associate Professor of Public Policy at Tohoku University, before joining UEA. Ra continues to author and co-author numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on a variety of International Relations topics, from Japan’s foreign policy to African security issues and regional relations. He is currently working on a monograph that identifies Okinawa within the East China Sea (ECS) as a flashpoint for future great power conflict. He is a regular contributor to major international news media outlets, such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, DW, France24 and TVP World, as well as writing countless pieces for specialist forums and newspapers, including ASAN Forum, Asahi Shimbun Asia Japan Watch (AJW) and The Conversation UK.


Ra has held visiting posts at Tohku University, Ritsumeikan University and Meio University, and coordinates exchange and research collaborations with multiple universities in Japan for which he is an active generator of grant funding. He continues to play an integral role in terms of teaching, supervision and administration within UEA's School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies (PPL) as well as contributing to committee work across the Faculty and wider University. In addition to guest lecturing and public speaking, Ra convenes and teaches a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses that, among many others, include: The Foreign Relations of China and Japan, The Politics and Foreign Policy of the Indo-Pacific, International Relations Theory and International Security. 

Key Responsibilities

Teaching (International Relations Theory, China and Japan's Foreign Relations, Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies, Indo-Pacific Affairs, International Security, Global Politics, Contemporary Politics, Public Policy, Academic English)

Research and publishing (Japan's International Relations, International Affairs, Japanese History, Okinawan Studies, Indo-Pacific Affairs, Asian Security, North Korea, Djibouti)

Supervision (PhD supervision, undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations, individual research projects)

Public speaking, guest lecturing, outreach, recuirtment and external engagement activities, partnerships in Japan (Tohoku, Ritsumeikan, Meio), University, Faculty and School administration.


Key Research Interests

Okinawa, Japan, Indo-Pacific, Risk, International Relations, International Security, Djibouti, International History, Nationalism, North Korea, Area Studies 

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Tohoku University

Award Date: 21 Apr 2012

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Award Date: 14 Mar 2012

External positions

Okinawa Diaspora Project Team, Meio University

1 Feb 20231 Feb 2024

Visiting Professor, Tohoku University

30 Aug 20194 Sep 2019

Associate Professor, Ritsumeikan University

11 Sep 201819 Jan 2019

External Examiner, University of Sheffield

1 Sep 201831 Aug 2024


  • International relations
  • Japan
  • Risk
  • Security
  • Okinawa
  • Political institutions

Media Expertise

  • International politics
  • International relations
  • Foreign Policy
  • Japan