SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Lyman Gamberton

BA Litterae Humaniores IB (Oxford University) MA Social and Cultural Anthropology (SOAS) MA (Oxon)
  • Overview
  • Research


Lyman Gamberton
Lyman Gamberton
Email address:
Thesis title:
'How to be Trans in Japan': Gender, Nation-Work, and the Material Self
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Born in England and raised here and in northern Japan, I read Classics at Oxford University before coming to SOAS for postgraduate study in Social Anthropology. My region of specialisation is the culture and society of Japan.

My MA dissertation was a historical-ethnographic study of the role of gender difference in Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors' narratives, 1947-1990. My current research involves transgender, transsexual, and gender non-conforming identities in contemporary Japan. I am particularly interested in the relationship between transgender people and the Japanese State in the wake of the 2002 Gender Recognition Act.

PhD Research

My thesis is an ethnographic examination of transgender and transsexual identities across contemporary Japan. I take a multi-sited, interdisciplinary approach to this topic, involving both queer methodologies and ethnographic surveys. My main points of interest in this project include the ways in which transgender communities have situated themselves in relation to the 2003 Gender Recognition Act in Japan; the ontological shift in transgender theory from performativity to embodiment and how (or if) this is expressed practically in everyday trans lives; and the relationship between the medical profession and trans individuals and the relationship of both to the Japanese State.


  • Culture and Society of Japan
  • Transgender Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Disability Studies
  • Material Culture
  • Embodiment
  • A-Bomb Studies