Darren-Jon Ashmore, Ph.D is an anthropologist and performing arts scholar who was trained at both the University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies and Kobe University’s Rokko Faculty of Intercultural Communications. At these institutions, he studied Japanese language, Kabuki, Puppet Theatre, Noh, and the history of anime as well as the arts of Iaido and tameshigiri.
A recipient of a Leverhulme Foundation award for research in 2001, Darren’s primary areas of interest are the survival, revival and redefining of traditional culture in Japan – both martial and performance. In this regard he has worked with groups up and down Japan to help promote and expand the awareness of cultural properties as diverse as the Takenoko Puppet Theater in Shikoku, the Yamahage Winter Demon Festival in Akita and the preservation of the memory of important, but poorly regarded people who were part of the ‘great flowering’ of modern Japanese animation.
As of March 2017, Darren is Co-Director of Japan Studies and Head of performing Arts at Yamanashi Gakuin University’s International College of Liberal arts, where he divides time between theatre courses, research, the practice of Iaido and forming ever firmer links between Japan and the World.