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 Sheffield in 2001 as a lecturer in Japan’s international relations, becoming a senior lecturer in 2005 and a professor in 2009. Hugo was Head of the School of East Asian Studies from 2013 to 2019.
His 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 G7 and G20. He has participated in G7 and G20 engagement groups known as the Think 7 and Think 20 that act as an 'ideas bank'.
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.