He received his BA from the University of Johannesburg in 1998, after which he worked as a journalist for the South African Broadcasting Corporation. In 2001 he was awarded the Japanese Government’s Monbukagakusho Scholarship for postgraduate work in Japan. He received his MA from Nagoya University in 2005. In 2008 he graduated with a PhD from Nagoya University’s Graduate School for Languages and Cultures. His dissertation concentrated on the international distribution of Japanese pop culture – particularly anime – as an instance of how capitalism is surpassing national culture in helping us to make sense of foreign culture. After graduating, he divided his time between research tracing the history of South African consumption of Japanese anime during apartheid, and documentary filmmaking. He worked as a documentary director and investigative journalist for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, producing twenty half-hour documentaries for the award-winning program ‘Special Assignment’.
Dr. Van Staden’s fields of interest include East Asia-driven cultural globalization, the expansion of Chinese influence in Africa and the contribution of Chinese and Japanese media to the formation of soft power networks. He is currently engaged in a research project tracking the expansion of Chinese and Japanese media in Africa.