Midori Ogasawara

Midori Ogasawara
Assistant Professor
Office: COR A365

PhD (Queen’s University, 2018), Banting Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Ottawa, 2019-20)

Area of expertise

Surveillance, technology, identification, biometrics, colonialism, data justice

Midori Ogasawara joined the Department of Sociology as an Assistant Professor in January 2021. Before joining the University of Victoria, Dr. Ogasawara was a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa. Her academic interests focus on social consequences of surveillance, identification, personal data, biometrics and other information communication technologies, including media and memory. Her postdoctoral project investigates collaborative relationship between security intelligence agencies and big data corporations and analyzes how the collaboration has been redrawing the legal boundary of mass surveillance in Canada, by legalizing previously illegal surveillance. The research proposal for the 2018-2019 Banting competition was ranked second out of the 181 applications reviewed by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Dr. Ogasawara completed her PhD in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University in 2018, under the supervision of Dr. David Lyon, the Director of Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s. Her PhD dissertation “Bodies as Risky Resources: The Japanese Identification Systems as Surveillance, Population Control and Colonial Violence in Occupied Northeast China” explores a historical trajectory of today’s biometric technologies. Japan implemented fingerprinting, the forerunner of biometrics, when it occupied Northeast China in 1931-1945. Ogasawara conducted archival and ethnographical research in China and interviewed the colonial survivors and their family members who faced violent acts of Japan’s intensive policing and surveillance. A summary of this research was published in Making Surveillance States: Transnational Histories, edited by Robert Heynen and Emily van der Meulen (2019, University of Toronto Press).

Obtaining her first degree in law, Dr. Ogasawara was a staff writer for Japan’s national newspaper The Asahi Shimbun, and was engaged in investigative journalism on surveillance technologies, Japan’s sex slavery during the Second World War, and the US military bases in Okinawa. She was awarded the Fulbright Journalist Scholarship and John S. Knight Professional Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University in 2004-2005. In 2016, she became the first Japanese researcher who interviewed the US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden via a video channel, which resulted in publishing two books (2016, 2019) on the NSA’s secret activities in Japan and Japan’s involvement in global surveillance systems. She is also an author of three other books, six book chapters and two peer-reviewed journal articles (Surveillance & Society, The Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia). She is currently writing a monthly column “Data, Surveillance and Me” for The Asahi Shimbun web magazine GLOBE+.


Refereed articles

Ogasawara, Midori. Forthcoming. “Legalizing Illegal Mass Surveillance: A Transnational Perspective on Canada’s Legislative Response to the Expansion of Security Intelligence”, Canadian Journal of Law and Society

Ogasawara, Midori. 2019. “The Daily Us (vs. Them) from Online to Offline: Japan’s Media Manipulation and Cultural Transcoding of Collective Memories”, The Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia 18(2): 49-67.

Ogasawara, Midori. 2019. “Mainstreaming Colonial Experiences in Surveillance Studies”, Surveillance & Society 17(5): 726-729.

Ogasawara, Midori. 2017. “Surveillance at the Roots of Everyday Interactions: Japan’s Conspiracy Bill and its Totalitarian Effects”, Surveillance & Society 15(3/4): 477- 485.

Books, chapters and monographs

Ogasawara, Midori. 2021. “Collaborative Surveillance with Big Data Corporations: Interviews with Edward Snowden and Mark Klein”, in David Lyon and David Murakami Wood (eds.) Security Intelligence and Surveillance in the Big Data Age. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Ogasawara, Midori. 2019. “Bodies as Risky Resources: Japan’s Colonial Identification Systems in Northeastern China”, in Robert Heynen and Emily van der Meulen (eds.) Making Surveillance States: Transnational Histories. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Ogasawara, Midori. 2019. Snowden Japan File: How Japan Has Been Involved with America’s Global Surveillance Systems. Japan: Mainichi Newspaper Publishing (in Japanese).

Ogasawara, Midori. 2016. Snowden Talks About the Horrors of the Surveillance Society: The Complete Record of An Exclusive Interview. Japan: Mainichi Newspaper Publishing (in Japanese).

Ogasawara, Midori and Shiraishi, Takashi. 2012. No to the “My Number” System: For Countering the Surveillance Society and Protecting Personal Information. Japan: Koushi-sha (in Japanese).

Ogasawara, Midori. 2012. “Change the Tone: Why Media Has Shifted to Support the My Number System”, in Yasuhiko Tajima, Koji Ishimura, Shiraishi Takashi, and Mizunaga Seiji (eds.) The Tricks of the Common Number System: My Number Makes a Fair Society?. Japan: Gendai-jimbun-sha (in Japanese).

Ogasawara, Midori. 2012. “The Pitfall of the Best Match: The Korean Resident Registration System in the Internet Era”, in Yasuhiko Tajima, Koji Ishimura, Shiraishi Takashi, and Mizunaga Seiji (eds.) The Tricks of the Common Number System: My Number Makes a Fair Society?. Japan: Gendai-jimbun-sha (in Japanese).

Lyon, David. 2011. Surveillance Studies: The Social Theories of Watching and Being Watched, translated by Tajima Yasuhiko and Midori Ogasawara, Japan: Iwanami-shoten (from English to Japanese).

Ogasawara, Midori. 2008. “A Tale of the Colonial Age, or the Banner of New Tyranny?: National ID Card Systems in Japan”, in David Lyon and Colin Bennett (eds.) Playing the Identity Card. NY: Routledge.

Ogasawara, Midori. 2003. “The Unfair Gaze: Surveillance Cameras Looking at Our Everyday Life”, in Toshimaru Ogura (ed.) Freedom for the Streets: Critiques of Surveillance Cameras. Japan: Impact Publishing (in Japanese).

Ogasawara, Midori. 2002. “The Forgotten Origin: A Report on the Resident Basic Registration Network”, in Yasuhiko Tajima (ed.) Personal Data Protection Act and Human Rights. Japan: Akashi-shoten (in Japanese).

Ogasawara, Midori. 2000. Princess Sunflower: A Picture Storybook Based on the United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Japan: Poplar Publishing (in Japanese).

Korean translation, 2003. Korea: Dongyoun Child Publishing.

English translation, 2004. Japan: Kitakyushu Forum of Asian Women.

Other publications

Ogasawara, Midori. 2021. “The Bodies Discovered in the Residential School and the Crime of Colonial State: Book Review of Seven Fallen Feathers”, Sekai 949 (October): 260-263.

Ogasawara, Midori. 2021. “The Rise of Pandemic Surveillance Capitalism: The Digital Net Can Incarcerate Us without Wall”, Sekai 943 (April): 96-104.

Ogasawara, Midori. 2020-Present. “Data, Surveillance and Me”, Monthly Column for Asahi Shimbun Magazine GLOBE+https://globe.asahi.com/series/11029968

Ogasawara, Midori. 2017. “Invisible Surveillance and Media Manipulation: The Effects of Conspiracy Law from Snowden’s Perspective”, Journalism (academic journal by Japan’s national newspaper Asahi Shimbun) 329 (October): 82-89 (in Japanese). Republished by online journal Webronza.

Ogasawara, Midori. 2016. “The Emergence of State Surveillance by New Technologies, and the Question of Humanity”, two articles, The Sekai (academic journal by Iwanami-shoten), 888: 126-135, 889: 178-186 (in Japanese).

Ogasawara, Midori. 2012. “Identify and Classify the Entire Population: Politics of Surveillance in the Common Number System, New Alien Card System and Secrecy Act”, Buraku Kaiho (academic journal by Buraku Kaiho Domei) 666: 64-73 (in Japanese).