Naosuke examines questions regarding state formation, politics of natural resources, territory and borders, and colonial legacies from historical and comparative perspectives. His primary regional focus is the Middle East and East/Southeast Asia.
He is currently working on his first book project based on his DPhil dissertation, titled Natural Resources and Territorial Sovereignty: The Separate Independence of Oil-Rich Protectorates, which investigates the historical relationship between natural resources, especially oil, and the creation of new states through decolonization. Based on extensive archival research and comparative historical analysis of colonial units on the island of Borneo and in the Persian Gulf, he argues that oil and colonial politics interacted to create states that would otherwise not exist. He demonstrates that (1) pre-independence oil production and (2) the protectorate system resulted in the separate independence of colonial areas, while the lack of either of the two conditions resulted in a merger with other areas.
Naosuke also works on other research projects including territoriality in early modern Japan, the geographical boundaries of “Asia” in people’s minds, decolonization and authoritarianism, and monarchism in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
He received an honourable mention for the Best Graduate Student Paper Award of the Historical International Relations section of the International Studies Association and the Best Paper Award by the Japan Association of International Relations. His most recent publications include “Colonial Origins of the Resource Curse: Endogenous Sovereignty and Authoritarianism in Brunei.” Democratization, 27(2), 224-242.