Hugo Dobson was awarded his PhD from the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield in 1998. His thesis explored Japan’s participation in United Nations-sponsored peacekeeping operations. He has worked as a research fellow in the International Centre for Comparative Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo (1997-1999) and lecturer in the international relations of East Asia in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent (1999-2000). He returned to the School of East Asian Studies in 2001 as a lecturer in Japan’s international relations, becoming a senior lecturer in 2005 and a professor in 2009.
Professor Dobson’s research interests are broadly divided into two strands. The first strand focuses upon Japan's role in international relations, multilateral organisations and global governance, especially the G8 and G20. The second strand of his research explores the role of images in shaping our understanding of international relations and Japan’s role in the world, from postage stamps and logos to TV programmes such as The Simpsons.
He has been the recipient of a number of research grants and has been invited to teach and research at various institutions around the world including the University of Tokyo, Hosei University in Tokyo, Zurich University and Charles University in Prague.
Professor Dobson is currently investigating the transition from the G8 to G20 in light of the global rebalancing of power as seen in the rise of countries like China and India and the recent global economic crisis. In particular, he is interested in understanding how Japan is managing this process particularly in a forum like the G20. To this end, he attended the G20 Summit in Cannes in November 2011 and the G8 Summit in Chicago in May 2012
He has also recently published a third edition of the co-authored textbook Japan’s International Relations: Politics, Economics and Security, whilst conducting research for a new book on the role of former prime ministers in Japanese politics.