Midori Ogasawara

Banting Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Canada

Dr. Midori Ogasawara
Dr. Midori Ogasawara

Midori Ogasawara completed her PhD in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University in 2018. Her PhD dissertation “Bodies as Risky Resources: The Japanese Identification Systems as Surveillance, Population Control and Colonial Violence in Occupied Northeast China” explores a historical trajectory of today’s biometric technologies. Japan implemented fingerprinting, the forerunner of biometrics, when it occupied Northeast China in 1931-1945. Biometric ID systems became a powerful means of population control, which help the colonizers to classify the colonized to ‘desirable’ and ‘undesirable’. Ogasawara conducted archival and ethnographical research in China in 2016 and interviewed the colonial survivors and their family members who faced violent consequences of Japan’s intensive policing and surveillance.

Dr. Ogasawara is currently a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa. Her research proposal for the 2018-2019 Banting competition was ranked second out of the 181 applications reviewed by SSHRC. The project investigates collaborative relationship between security intelligence agencies and big data corporations, and analyzes how the collaboration has been altering the legal boundary of mass surveillance in Canada, by legalizing previously illegal surveillance.

Obtaining her first degree in law, Dr. Ogasawara was a staff writer for Japan’s national newspaper The Asahi Shimbun, and was engaged in investigative journalism on surveillance technologies, Japan’s sex slavery during the Second World War, and the US bases in Okinawa. She was awarded the Fulbright Journalist Scholarship and John S. Knight Professional Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University in 2004-2005. During her doctoral studies, she also became a recipient of the highly competitive Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. In 2016, she was the first Japanese researcher/journalist to interview the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden via a video channel, and as a result published two books (2016, 2019) on the NSA’s secret activities in Japan and Japan’s involvement in global surveillance systems. She also translated Dr. David Lyon’s book Surveillance Studies into Japanese (published in 2011).