Aya Homei

Aya Homei


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Personal profile


I obtained my MA and PhD in history of science, technology and medicine at the University of Manchester. Then, I did a post-doctoral research at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester, and then a research and teaching associate at the Department of East Asian Studies at Cambridge University and the Needham Research Institute before arriving at Manchester. At Manchester, I was first a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow before assuming the current position.

Research interests

I am primarily a historian of medicine and sciences in modern Japan specialised in reproduction and population, but, over the past few years, I have grown interests in the inter-Asian health and medical exchange, especially focusing on the relationship between China and Japan.

My interests are: 

  • Discourses on Japanese population, and the interactions between population policies and the sciences of population
  • Japanese family planning initiatives in East and Southeast Asia in the 1960s & 1970s as development aids
  • Sino-Japanese cooperation in family planning, 1980s
  • HIstory of involuntary sterilization in Japan, 1940s-70s
  • History of geriatrics and gerontology in modern Japan

My forthcoming monograph, Science for Governing Japan's Population (Cambridge University Press, 2022), describes how various medical and social scientific fields and practices developed in Japan c. 1860s-1960s around the idea of “population” (jinkō), and through the process to make national policies. I am also working on a project, 'Family Planning, Health Promotion and Global Medicine, 1945-1995: The activities of Japanese health campaigners around the world', in which I examine Japanese family planning initiatives since the late 1960s (both governmental and non-governmental) in 'developing countries' unfolded under the aegis of overseas medical/technical cooperation and in the context of international health. I am looking at Sino-Japanese technical cooperation in family planning and maternal and child health, as a case study that challenges the historiography of global health.

As part of my research on the history of global health, I am involved in the Commission on Science, Technology and Diplomacy (STAND) as Vice President, whcih forms part of in the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Division of History of Science and Technology (IUHPST/DHST)

In 2023, I will carry out historical research on the involuntary sterilization in Japan at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, as a visiting fellow funded by JSPS.

Finally, I have begun to study how medicines and sciences surrounding the old age developed in modern Japan.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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