Historical Geography and Culture


Associate Professor


E-mail: tokunaga.yuu.o19*kyoto-u.jp (replace * with @)


  • Ph.D. History, University of Southern California, 2018
  • M.A. History, University of Southern California, 2015
  • M.A. Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, 2012
  • B.A. Faculty of Letters (Contemporary History), Kyoto University, 2006

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

  • Associate Professor, Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (with a joint appointment at the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies), Kyoto University, April 2020-present
  • Assistant Professor, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, April 2016-March 2020
  • Teaching Assistant, Department of History, University of Southern California, August 2013-December 2015
  • Research Fellow (DC1), Research Fellowship for Young Scientists, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science,  April 2012-August 2012
  • Newspaper Reporter, the Asahi Shimbun Company, April 2006-March 2010

Summary Statement of Research Interests

What causes discrimination and inequalities between different groups of people in our society? How can we overcome these problems? Taking these questions into consideration, I am conducting historical research on the immigrant society in California, the United States, where large numbers of Asians and Latin Americans have migrated and interacted with each other particularly since the early twentieth century. My research aims to understand how local interethnic relations and international relations intersect and cause racial discrimination and economic inequality as well as how people with different ethnoracial backgrounds can nurture mutual understanding in the immigrant society. California’s history has witnessed various natural disasters, such as earthquakes and flooding, that profoundly affected the lives of immigrants. In the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, I continue my research on immigration history, taking in consideration the processes in which natural disasters and disaster prevention intersect with migration as well as racism from a historical perspective.



  • Yu Tokunaga, Transborder Los Angeles: Cultivating Japanese and Mexican Relations, 1924-1942 (Under contract with University of California Press)

Book Chapter

  • 徳永悠「排日から排墨へ― 一九二〇年代カリフォルニア州における人種化経験の連鎖―」成田龍一、竹沢泰子、田辺明生編『環太平洋地域の移動と人種―統治から管理へ、遭遇から連帯へ』京都大学学術出版会、2020年1月

Journal Article

Other works

Social Engagement Activities