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Camping in Mountains


Exploring one of the most understudied aspects of our life

My research aims to understand how people experience leisure, and more importantly why they live a leisure life that they have. This involves studying what constrains or motivates people's leisure experience, and what outcomes people derive from their leisure. I am also interested in how different and similar people's leisure experience is across different cultures.


Who I Am

I’m an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada. I am passionate about studying and teaching leisure. Research suggests that leisure is the life domain that can make our lives worth living. Yet, many of us do not know how to make most out of it. And that's the knowledge that I would like to produce and teach.

I am originally from Japan. My leisure interests involve both active (e.g., badminton, golf) and cultural (e.g., trying new food) activities. 



Digital social media


Leisure education has been traditionally an intervention tool for people with disabilities. However, the conventional in-person delivery costs many resources. Can we do it online -- through videos, apps, website, messengers, etc.? This project is inspired by online positive psychological interventions. One of the main outcomes I examine is subjective well-being. This is a new research -- join me!

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This was my doctoral research conducted at the University of Alberta. I developed a theory of the relationships between leisure and ikigai (i.e., life worth living in Japanese), using the mixed methods research design. The first qualitative study guided by grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2015) created a substantive theory on the topic based on photo elicitation data from Japanese university students. The second quantitative study tested this theory, using partial least squares structural equation modeling (Hair et al., 2017), with online survey data collected from a larger sample of Japanese university students.

Man Running


This cross-cultural research project was led by my collaborator Dr. Eiji Ito (Wakayama University, Japan). We conducted free-descriptive online surveys with Japanese and Euro-Canadian adults to learn about what constrained their LTPA participation and how they negotiated such constraints. Based on this information we developed new typologies of constraints and negotiation as well as new survey items. We used these items in the follow-up cross-cultural survey to examine their validity. My contributions have been methodological.

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This was my Master's research conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After seeing the devastation caused by the 3.11 tsunami and earthquake in Japan, I worked to understand how leisure experiences after the disasters helped survivors recover psychologically. This qualitative study was based on semi-structured interviews with survivors and disaster volunteers as well as my field observations.

Recent Blog Posts

Shintaro's CV

Assistant Professor (tenure-track)

July 2019 - Present

In the area of leisure studies, in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta.

Assistant Professor (tenure-track)

January 2017 - June 2019

With focus on General Recreation/Therapeutic Recreation in the Department of Public Health and Recreation Professions, College of Education and Human Services, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Ph.D. Candidate/Student

May 2013 - December 2017

With focus on leisure behavior in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation at the University of Alberta (Canada). My supervisor was Dr. Gordon J. Walker.

M.S. Student

September 2011 - December 2012

With focus on leisure behavior in the Department of Recreation, Sports, and Tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My supervisor then was Dr. Kimberly J. Shinew.

Selected Publications



Consulting a research project for Action for Healthy Communities (non-profit)


Shin's work is highlighted in the Innovator Spotlight section of The Quad by the University of Alberta


Received the 2021 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant!


Received the 2022 New Researcher Award from The Academy of Leisure Sciences (TALS)


Former grad student, Seung Jin Cho, received a Future Scholar Award by The Academy of Leisure Sciences (TALS)

Received the 2021 Emerging Leisure Scholar Award from the Canadian Association of Leisure Studies (CALS)!

A seminar recording on ikigai, leisure, and well-being!

Meet The Team


Minchen Huang

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Minchen is a Ph.D. student at U of Alberta. He's interested in leisure, domestic migration, and constraints.



Dr. Jingjing Gui

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Dr. Gui is a teaching assistant professor at U of Alberta. She's specialized in leisure and culture.


Dr. Eiji Ito

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Dr. Ito is an associate professor in the School of Health and Sport Sciences, Chukyo University, Japan.

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Wenzhe Zheng

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Wenzhe is a Master student at University of Alberta. He's interested in leisure constraints, facilitators, and work-leisure conflict.

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Dr. Shinichi Nagata

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Dr. Nagata is an assistant professor in Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Tsukuba, Japan.


Dr. Jon Dattilo

    Dr. Dattilo is a professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management at The Pennsylvania State University

    Meet The Team

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    Seung Jin Cho

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    Seung Jin is a Ph.D. student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

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