Sabine Frühstück is interested in the study of modern and contemporary Japanese culture and its relationship to the rest of the world. Her research has engaged several intellectual fields. Playing War: Children and the Paradoxes of Modern Militarism in Japan (2017) is a cultural history of the naturalized connections between childhood and militarism. It analyzes the rules and regularities of war play, from the hills and along the rivers of 19th century rural Japan to the killing fields of 21st century cyberspace. The ethnography, Uneasy Warriors: Gender, Memory and Popular Culture in the Japanese Army (2007) employs gender, memory and popular culture as technologies of engagement with a number of debates that centrally involve the ambivalent status and condition of Japan’s contemporary military. Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan (2003) is a sociohistorical study of the creation, formation, and application of a “science of sex” from the late 19th through the mid-20th century.
Committed to the pursuit of knowledge as an interdisciplinary and transnational enterprise, Frühstück has co-edited volumes on Child’s Play: Multi-sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan(2017), Recreating Japanese Men (2011), Neue Geschichten der Sexualität (1999), and The Culture of Japan as Seen Through Its Leisure (1998). Her articles and essays have appeared in Japanese, German, French, and English.
Frühstück has been serving on the American Advisory Committee for Japanese Studies of the Japan Foundation; the North East Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies; the Executive Board of the Vereinigung für sozialwissenschaftliche Japanforschung; the Board of Trustees of the Society for Japanese Studies; the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources; the advisory/editorial boards of book series on “Transnational Asian Masculinities” (Hong Kong University Press) and “Children, Youth and War” (University of Georgia Press); the advisory boards of The Journal of Japanese Studies and Japan Forum, and the editorial committee of the University of California Press. She has been the chair of the Executive Board of the Pacific Rim Research Program, University of California, and the director of the East Asia Center at UCSB. Frühstück was a Japan Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Tokyo (1998-99, 2001), a University of California President’s fellow at Berkeley (2001-2002), an external faculty fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center (2005-2006), a visiting research professor at Kyoto University (2003), a senior fellow at the International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna (2010), a visiting professor at the Deutsche Institut für Japanforschung, Tokyo, and a visiting scholar at the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University (2015-2016).