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Dr Michael Tsang

  • Overview



    Michael Tsang joined Birkbeck in 2021 as Lecturer in Japanese Studies. He has previous academic experiences in Newcastle University - where he was Leverhulme Early Career Fellow based at the School of Modern Languages - the University of Warwick, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    His research interests lie in world and postcolonial literatures with an East Asian focus, specialising in Japanese, Hong Kong, and Chinese literatures. He also conducts research in Asian popular cultures at large.

    He is the co-editor of Murakami Haruki and Our Years of Pilgrimage (with Gitte Marianne Hansen, Routledge, 2021), and has been published in various journals and volumes such as Japan ForumInter-Asia Cultural StudiesWasafiriSanglap, and others. He is a founding co-editor of Hong Kong Studies (Chinese University Press), the world's only bilingual academic journal specifically devoted to Hong Kong. He is also staff reviewer at Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, where he has established an extensive profile of reviews of Asian literature.

    He is also a writer, publishing poetry and prose with Asian themes.


    • Invited Speaker for READ@PolyU, campus-wide reading programme of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 4 November 2022.

      Talk title: A Magical and Critical Journey to Haruki Murakami's Literature

    • Co-edited volume, Murakami Haruki and Our Years of Pilgrimage (Routledge, 2021)

      This is one of the first edited volumes on the iconic Japanese writer Murakami Haruki, combining cutting-edge research from scholars around the world and taking stock of Murakami's literary career in the past four decades. 

    • Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018-2021

      I was awarded the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for my research project, 'World Literature and 20th Century East Asia: A Bibliomigrancy Approach'.

    • Keynote Speaker, (Re)defining the Intersection: Hong Kong Textuality conference, University of Sheffield, 25 January 2019.

      Speech title: A Minor Literature(?) at Interregnum: Whither Hong Kong’s English Writing?

    • Co-founder and managing editor, Hong Kong Studies

      Published bi-annually by the Chinese University Press, Hong Kong Studies is the world's first bilingual academic journal devoted to academic research on Hong Kong's culture, society, and politics. 


    • PhD in English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
    • MPhil in Gender Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong
    • BA in English, Chinese University of Hong Kong
    • Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy

    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Home and International Recruitment and Admissions Lead, School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    • Programme Director, BA in Japanese Studies, Graduate Diploma in Japanese Studies
    • Japanese Language Coordinator

    Professional activities

    Advisory Board, Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry

    Managing editor, Hong Kong Studies journal

    Professional memberships

    • Member, Modern Languages Association

    • Member, British Association of Japanese Studies

    • Member, British Comparative Literature Association

    • Member, American Comparative Literature Association

    Honours and awards

    • Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, Leverhulme Trust, September 2018
    • 'Eyes on Murakami Haruki' project, with Dr Gitte Marianne Hansen. The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grant, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, September 2018
    • Summer Research Fund, Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick, September 2017


  • Research


    Research interests

    • East Asian literatures
    • East Asian popular cultures
    • World literature
    • Postcolonial theory
    • Gender studies
    • Critical theory

    Research clusters and groups

    Research projects

    World Literature Influences in 20th-century Japanese and Chinese Literary Circles: A Bibliomigrancy Approach

    Gendering Murakami Haruki

    At Interregnum: Hong Kong and its English Writing

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome prospective PhD applicants in these areas:

    • Modern and contemporary Japanese literature
    • Popular culture in Japan/East Asia
    • Contemporary East Asian literatures (e.g. Chinese, Korean, diasporic)
    • Hong Kong society/culture/literature
    • Gender and East Asia
    • Theories of postcolonial and/or world literature
    • World literature with an Asian focus

    Current doctoral researchers



    I have more than 10 years of teaching experience in higher education settings in multiple countries. My main areas of teaching are in Japanese and East Asian literatures, popular culture, society; postcolonial literatures, world literature, and literary theory and criticism; East Asian languages (Japanese and Chinese) and academic writing in English. Here is a list of modules I have taught previously:

    School of Modern Languages, Newcastle University

    • Surveying East Asian Literatures
    • Introduction to Japanese History and Society
    • Contemporary Japanese Popular Culture
    • Literary and Cultural Expressions in Contemporary Japan
    • Japanese-English translation

    Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, The University of Warwick

    • Modern World Literatures
    • Global City Literature
    • New Literatures in English
    • Modes of Reading

    Department of English, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

    • Gender and Literature
    • Introduction to Literature
    • Renaissance to Enlightenment

    The following are the Birkbeck modules I convene and/or teach:

    Teaching modules

    • Studying Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies in Modern Languages (ARCL059S7)
    • Imagining the Nation (ARCL064S7)
    • Japanese 3 (Level 4) (ARCL101S4)
    • Film and Politics (Level 5) (AREL094S5)
    • Creative Arts, Culture and Communication Postgraduate Research (AREN060Z8)
    • Doing Languages, Cultures and Applied Linguistics (ARLL004S4)
    • Culture and Text (ARLL010S4)
    • Comparative Themes in the Novel (ARLL012S5)
    • Advanced Seminar in Japanese Linguistics and Translation (ARLL027H6)
    • Manga and Anime (Level 6) (ARMC187S6)
    • Rethinking Japan: Introduction to Modern Japanese Society and Culture (Level 4) (LNLN023S4)
  • Publications




    Book Section

    Conference Item



  • Business and community

    Business and community


    I am happy to receive enquiries from the media on the following topics:

    • Murakami Haruki
    • Japanese literature
    • Hong Kong literature, politics, culture and society
    • Japanese popular culture - manga and anime
    • East Asian popular culture
    • East Asian literature
    • Korean pop culture



      -In 2023 I was quoted in this BBC article on the popularity of Japanese novelist Murakami Haruki.

      -An earlier publication of mine on the influence of Murakami Haruki's egg-versus-wall metaphor on the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests has generated several outreach opportunities.

      • I wrote a blogpost entitled 'Murakami Haruki's Egg-Versus-Wall Metaphor and Hong Kong's Pro-democracy Movements' on the blog Hong Kong Insight, hosted by the Hong Kong Studies Association, in December 2019. In this post I revisited and updated the earlier publication on the latest happenings in the Hong Kong protests.
      • In collaboration with 'Beyond Japan', a podcast series hosted by the Centre for Japanese Studies, University of East Anglia, I talked about Murakami and the Hong Kong protests in this episode.


      -I was recently interviewed for my poem 'Reading Louise Ho on the MTR', published in Where Else - An International Hong Kong Poetry Anthology (2023). The interview was conducted by Elizabeth E. Chung and was published in the 'Writing Hong Kong' special issue of Writing Chinese: A Journal of Contemporary Sinophone Literature (Volume 2, Issue 1). 

      -In tandem with my book chapter on Hong Kong's earliest Chinese newspaper, Gems from Near and Afar, I published a blogpost in October 2023 for 'Hong Kong Insight', the blog of Hong Kong Studies Association.

      -I have been quoted in the Bloomberg article ‘Guardians of Hong Kong Culture Spring Up From California to Singapore’ on 28 January 2022.

      OTHER OUTREACH / RESEARCH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (Postcolonial; Comparative; East Asian)

      -I am a staff reviewer at the online, Hong Kong-based literary magazine Cha: An Asian Literary JournalA complete list of my extensive profile of literary reviews can be found on my Cha profile page.

      -I was interviewed by the British Comparative Literature Association 'Comparatively Speaking' series, which can be read here.

      -I am a co-editor on Decolonising Modern Languages and Cultures, a blog that I started with colleagues at School of Modern Languages, Newcastle University. The blog runs public-facing posts that discuss decolonial issues and examine different decolonial contexts.

      • I also wrote a post for the blog, titled 'Decolonial? Postcolonial? What Does It Mean to Decolonise Ourselves?' on 21 January 2021.