Danau Tanu, PhD, is a Japan Foundation Research Fellow at the Waseda University Institute of Asia Pacific Studies (WIAPS) in Japan. She won a fellowship from the Japan Foundation back in 2020 to study Tokyo’s Multicultural Youth and is glad to have finally landed in Narita in March of 2022 after a long pandemic delay.

In the past, she has conducted research on forced migration under a postdoctoral Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Government of Australia and studied at Nagoya University under a Monbukagakusho Research Scholarship from the Government of Japan, among other things.

Before Japan, Danau was in Perth, Australia. She holds a doctorate degree in Anthropology, Sociology and Asian Studies from the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia.

Looking for Danau’s official bio? Download:

Danau is also the author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School. It is a book based on her doctoral research on structural racism in international schools.

You can read about Danau’s book, Growing Up in Transit, or her other publications, such as peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters or opinion pieces, as well as her public talks.

Taken at Danau’s alma mater during a special visit by former Vice President of Indonesia, Dr Boediono (not featured in the picture).

Or, if you prefer to learn on the go, you can listen to or watch featured interviews on podcasts and other media.

On social media, Danau claims to be an ‘Anthropologist for all things Third Culture Kid’. To the more serious breed, she is an anthropologist whose main research interests are youth, mobility and migration, multiculturalism, and international education. As a multilingual ethnographer, she also has a special interest in Indonesian and Japanese studies.

I remember being puzzled as an elementary school student that it was considered normal to have mothers who knew how to bake brownies while mine made sushi, and that my schoolmates had access to popular American sweets and toys, such as Nerds, licorice, and Cabbage Patch dolls, none of which were available at the local shops in Jakarta in the 1980s.


Volunteer Work

These days, she is also busy serving the community as a volunteer using her research expertise:

Danau Tanu


It is no secret that Danau’s own background has spurred her research interests. As a child of a Chinese Indonesian father and a Japanese mother, Danau grew up attending an Indonesian kindergarten for a year and a Japanese public school in Tokyo for a year as well as two English-medium ‘international’ schools in Indonesia and Singapore.

Having grown up speaking four languages at home and at school, it seemed natural for her to be drawn to studying issues relating to mobility, identity and international education.

Danau (right) in Singapore during high school

You can read something a tad more personal about her journey down a winding road that took her from being a teenager at an international school to publishing a book about these schools.

And if you want something even more personal, check out her blog post on The Miracle of the Shack