SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Lyman Gamberton

BA (Oxford), MA (SOAS), MA (Oxon)


Lyman Gamberton
Lyman Gamberton
Email address:
Thesis title:
'Each Life Has Its Place': Transgender Experiences in Contemporary Japan
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 2003 Gender Recognition Act.

Broader research interests include: the culture and society of Japan; Transgender Studies; gender and sexuality; Critical Disability Studies; material culture; embodiment; and A-bomb Studies.

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.