Michael works on the history of early modern and modern Japan, with a particular focus on urban history. His dissertation is tentatively titled Settling Sapporo: City and State in the Global Nineteenth Century, and seeks to explore the creation and development of Sapporo, capital of Japan's northern island Hokkaido, in the context of state building and imperial expansion during the nineteenth century. He is also interested in comparative urban history and theory, and seeks to connect Japanese urban history to global trends and developments. In particular, he hopes to compare the history of Sapporo to contemporary settler-colonial cities elsewhere.
Michael's teaching covers not only early-modern and modern Japanese history, but also methods courses for history concentrators, one-on-one writing instruction and advising, as well as broader survey courses in Asian history and senior thesis supervision. He has taught online courses through the Harvard Extension School, and helped develop and then teach Visualizing Japan through edX. Born in Kobe, Michael grew up there and in Tokyo before attending Yale University. After brief stints in Heidelberg, Germany, and then back in Tokyo, he moved to the Boston area in 2011.