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David Blake Willis, Ph.D. - Fielding Graduate University. Sacramento, CA, US

David Blake Willis, Ph.D.

Doctoral Faculty - School of Leadership Studies | Fielding Graduate University


Professor of anthropology and education



David Blake Willis, Ph.D. Publication David Blake Willis, Ph.D. Publication David Blake Willis, Ph.D. Publication David Blake Willis, Ph.D. Publication







David Blake Willis is a professor of anthropology and education in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University. He taught anthropology and sociology at Soai Buddhist University, Osaka, Japan, from 1986-2009. From 2006-2007, he taught classes and did research at the Nissan Institute and St. Antony's College as a Senior Associate Member at the University of Oxford. His publications include "Reimagining Japanese Education: Borders, Transfers, Circulations, and the Comparative" (Oxford Series in Comparative Education, Symposium, 2011), with Jeremy Rappleye; "Transcultural Japan: At the Borders of Race, Gender, and Identity," with Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu (Routledge, 2007); and "Japanese Education in Transition 2001: Radical Perspectives on Cultural and Political Transformation" (Shannon, Flinders University, 2002), with Satoshi Yamamura. His research and writing concerns human development and education over the lifespan in transnational contexts, the creolization of cultures, social justice, comparative education, citizenship, international schools, transcultural communities, transnational diaspora, Creoles, transformative adult education, aging in cross-cultural perspective, and Dalit liberation movements in South India.

Industry Expertise (3)



Program Development

Areas of Expertise (33)

Public Speaking

Ethnic Entrepreneurs

East Asian Cultures

Japan and Japanese Culture

South Asian Cultures

Dalits and Caste in South India

Peace Action

Gandhian Studies

Social Change

Global Studies

Creolization and Creoles

Transcultural Societies

Borders and Borderlands


Management and Leadership in Japan

Experiential Learning

Comparative Education

Social & Ecological Sustainability


Longitudinal Studies

Cultural Identities, Creolization, Creoles

Frontiers, Borders and Borderlands

Social Justice and Diversity

Life-Course in Transnational Contexts

Transformative Education

Cosmopolitans and Cosmopolitanism

Systems and Systemic Thinking

Human Development

Multicultural Education

Educational Administration and Policy - Japan, USA

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

Ethnography and Narrative Research

Transcultural Studies

Education (4)

University of Iowa: PhD, Education 1986

University of Chicago: PhD Studies, Social Sciences 1975

University of Chicago: MA, Social Sciences 1974

Antioch College: BA, Asian Studies 1973

Affiliations (18)

  • American Anthropology Association (AAA)
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Anthropology of Japan in Japan (AJJ)
  • Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)
  • Global Studies Association (GSA)
  • Japan Anthropology Workshop (JAWS)
  • Japan Comparative Education Society (JCES)
  • Japan Society for Educational Administration (JSEA)
  • World Congress of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES)
  • Worldviews and Borderlands: Journal for Critical Social Thought and Action : Board of Editors
  • Japan-America Intellectual Forum : Board Member (former President)
  • Friendly Water for the World (FWFTW)
  • International Conference on Management Cases (ICMC)
  • International Leadership Association (ILA)
  • Japan Association of Cultural Anthropology (JASCA)
  • Japan Educational Research Association (JERA)
  • Positive Aging Conference (PAC)
  • Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA)

Event Appearances (12)

Presentation with Elizabeth Lennon, PhD

(2017) 15th European Congress of Psychology  Amsterdam

Presentation with Connie Corley, PhD

(2017) World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Gerontological Society of America Annual Conference  San Francisco, CA


(2016) Gerontological Society of America Annual Conference  New Orleans, LA

Cruzando Puentes, Case Study (with Connie Corley, PhD)

(2016) International Conference on Management Cases (ICMC) – Annual Meeting  New Delhi, India

Presentation with V. Vidya

(2015) International Conference on Management Cases (ICMC)-Annual Meeting  New Delhi, India

Leading Across Borders and Generations, Panel Discussion

(2015) International Leadership Association (ILA) Annual Conference  Barcelona, Spain

Keynote Speaker and Presentation

(2014) International Conference on Management Cases (ICMC) – Annual Meeting  New Delhi, India

Education in Emergency Situations: The Case of Japan

CIES Annual Conference  Montreal, Canada


Joining the Global Conversation: Reimagining and Liberating Japanese Education

CIES Annual Conference  Montreal, Canada


Redefining Education for a Global Era, Chair

Global Studies Association (GSA)  Urbana, IL


Globalization, Cosmopolitan and Creolization: Re-imagining Japan as Transcultural

Global Studies Association (GSA)  Urbana, IL


Globalization, Borders, and International Schools: New Possibilities for Understanding Educational Futures, Panel Co-Chair

World Congress of Comparative Education Societies  Istanbul, Turkey


Research Focus (3)

Who Am I? Creolization and Cultural Identity in the Borderlands

(2017) Edited anthology with W. Enloe of published articles on Identity in Transnational Societies.

Life In-Between and Cultural Identity

(2017) Book project. Report of an extensive longitudinal and ethnographic research project with W. Enloe and Y. Minoura, has a history of 20+: educational anthropology, history, and psychology.

International Schools in East Asia: Culture and Creative Schooling

(2017) For Singapore University Press. Manuscript under preparation examining the range and impact of international schooling in East Asia.

Research Grants (3)

The Institute of Social Innovation

Fielding Graduate University $8,000

(2010-2011) For Study of Dalit Liberation and Social Entrepreneurship in South India

Ministry of Education Special Grant

Ministry of Education 

(2007-2009) For Study of Zainichi Korean Economic Activities and Entrepreneurs with S. Lee

Soai University Grant

Soai University 

(1988-2006 ) For research, sabbatical, and publications: Transnational Life-Courses and Outcomes, Formation of Identity in Transnational Settings, and Transcultural Japan

Articles (12)

Resist and Relearn: Comments on Circulations and Escapes in a Barbaric Age (Afterword)

Escaping Japan: Reflections on Estrangement and Exile in the Twenty-First Century

(2018) Eds. Blai Guarné and P. Hansen, London/New York: Routledge.

Learning from Gandhi in the Anthropocene: Right to Water and Natural Resources by Indigenous People in USA

Sarvodaya (Journal of the Gandhian Movement for Social Change)


Transformative Leadership and Gandhiji - A Remarkable Life: The Transformative Leadership and Gandhian Challenge of S. Jagannathan

Sarvodaya (Journal of the Gandhian Movement for Social Change)


Cruzando Puentes: A social transformation case study

Knowledge Creation and Organizational Well-Being: Leveraging Talent Management and Appreciative Intelligence

David Blake Willis, Connie Corley,

(2017) Eds. G. D. Sardana and T. Thatchenkery(2017). New Delhi, India: Bloomsbury. Based on presentation at ICMC 2016, Greater Noida, India.

BOOK: World Cultures: The Language Villages

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

David Blake Willis & Walter W. Enloe

(2016) This special volume on the experiences and examples of language teaching and cultural immersion from the Concordia Language Villages (CLV) was created as a project honoring the founding and development of the Villages over fifty years ago. Inspired as parents and educators by the Villages and the transformational experiences of our own four children (Isaac, Serene, Jeffrey, and Luke), we wanted to share the impressive and extensive background of this experiment in global understanding with larger world audiences. It is an example made even more poignant and important by events in Europe and elsewhere in these difficult years of the early 21st century.

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BOOK: Sustainability Leadership: Integrating Values, Meaning, and Action

Fielding Graduate University

Karen Smith Bogart, Jo-Anne Clarke, John Fisher, Kerul Kassel, David Blake Willis, et al.

(2015) Sustainability means many things to many people. is certainly about the environment, ecological fragility, and balance, but it is also profoundly about economic and social diversity and equity. Indeed, from a systems perspective, sustainability resides at the very intersection of the environmental, economic, and social arenas. This volume, a collection of original research on sustainability from a range of new scholars, aims to uncover the ways that a concern for sustainability at the leading edge can bring forth new attitudes and modes of thought; innovative, sustainable business enterprises; and boundary-spanning leadership...

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Social Justice and Transformational Leadership in a Gandhian Social Movement for Dalit Liberation in South India

Leveraging Human Factors for Strategic Change: An Organizational Culture Perspective

D.B. Willis, V.A. Vidya, and J. Rajasekaran

(2015) Eds. G.D. Sardana and Tojo Thatchenkery New Delhi and London: Bloomsbury This book is divided in five sections: Appreciative Intelligence® Interventions / Multiple Perspectives on Knowledge Management / Interventions in Organizational Development / Communication and Relationship in Cross-cultural Context / HR Interventions in Employee Engagement. The book should be a valuable resource for students of management, organizational science researchers, organizational development practitioners, management consultants and business leaders...

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BOOK/WEB: Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Messages from Hibakusha

The Asahi Shimbun

David Blake Willis, Mika Obayashi and Walter Enloe

(2011) Special Edition, Book, and Website for The Asahi Shinbun. "Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki--Messages from Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors)" is a website that makes available to the public first-hand accounts written by hibakusha. By sharing these messages from them, we hope to help propel the growing global movement toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. To that end, The Asahi Shimbun, a leading Japanese newspaper, has established this website. We hope people from all over the world will visit the website.

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Beyond Ethnicity and Nationality, Korean Schools in Japan: Cultural Discourses of "Homeland"

Multicultural Education

David Blake Willis, Soo Im Lee

(2009) Spring, Vol 6, 85-98 This paper aims at shedding light on the current status of culture in Korean schools in Japan and the transmission of this culture, or cultures, to their students. Korean ethnic schools have survived in the midst of severe discrimination and prejudice from the surrounding Japanese society during the post-war era, an impressive statement of the power of culture. However, the status of these schools gradually changed after 2002, when the North Korean government admitted to a series of abduction cases of Japanese citizens and a new multicultural Korean society began to emerge. This paper will illuminate the roles of culture and diversity among Korean schools and their strenuous efforts dealing with discriminatory cultural policies of the Japanese government and society.

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Frontiers of Education: Japan as “Global Model” or “Nation at Risk”?

International Review of Education

David Blake Willis, Satoshi Yamamura & Jeremy Rappleye

(2008) Vol. 54: 493-515 The Japanese educational system is undergoing extensive change, affecting all stages from pre-school programmes to higher education. As Japan has moved from a nation at the top to “A Nation at Risk,” certain dichotomies have been highlighted. Viewing Japan as either educational super-power or educational tragedy, depending on the era of research or background of the researchers, has been especially provocative for educators and policy-makers. At the same time, the controversies in America surrounding the report A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education) are well known, a major impetus for the report of course being Japan.

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Japanese Education in Transition 2001: Radical Perspectives on Cultural and Political Transformation

International Education Journal


Japan has recently experienced important shifts in what was once seen as a stable, homogeneous, and orderly social environment. Foremost among the challenges facing Japanese society are those involving the educational system, educational concepts, and educational philosophy.

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Transculturals, Transnationals: The New Diaspora

International Schools Journal

(1994) The dispersion of highly qualified people to many lands due to transnational employment is a new kind of diaspora. A long-term study of an international school in Japan suggests that foreign-national students may be forerunners of a kind of transcultural/transnational identity needed for the world to transcend ultranationalism and ethnocentrism. These students have the skills to create community from diversity.

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