- 1999 Ph.D. in Japanese, Stanford University.
- 1995 M.A. in Japanese, Stanford University.
- 1991 B.A. in East Asian Studies, Columbia University.
Research Interests: Modernist literature; Japanese film and media; the intersection of contemporary literature with visual and electronic media.
Teaching Interests and Selected Courses: Japanese language; Modern Japanese Literature; Japanese Film and Animation; War and Postwar in Japanese Culture; The World of Japanese Drama and Performance; Japanese Popular Culture and Contemporary Media.
Current Research Project:
- "Advertising Tower: Japanese Modernism and Modernity in the 1920's." Harvard University Asia Center Publications, 2006.
- "Japanese Modernism and 'cine-text': Fragments and Flows at Empire's Edge in Kitagawa Fuyuhiko and Yokomitsu Riichi." The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms, ed. Mark Wollaeger. Oxford University Press, 2012.
- "The 1970 Osaka Expo and/as Science Fiction." Review of Japanese Culture and Society 28 (December 2011). (Special issue: Expo '70 and Japanese Art).
- "From Parody to Simulacrum: Japanese SF, Regionalism, and the Inauthentic in the early works of Komatsu Sakyô and Tsutsui Yasutaka." Paradoxa (Studies in World Literary Genres) 22 (2010).
- "The Cyber Sublime and the Virtual Mirror: Information and Media in the Works of Oshii Mamoru and Kon Satoshi." Canadian Journal of Film Studies 18.1 (Spring 2009).
- "Tsutsui Yasutaka and the Multimedia Performance of Authorship." Japanese Science Fiction: Origins to Anime, edited by Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Christopher Bolton, and Tatsumi Takayuki. University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
- "Literature as Life-form: Media and Modernism in the Literary Theory of Ôkuma Nobuyuki." Monumenta Nipponica 63.2 (Autumn 2008).
- "The Country Without a Shape: Spatial and Temporal Limits in the Poetry of Yi Sang and Ogata Kamenosuke." Yi Sang Review (Seoul) 4 (Summer 2005).
- "New Perceptions: Kinugasa Teinosuke's Films and Japanese Modernism." Cinema Journal 43:3 (Spring 2004).
- "Mongrel Modernism: Hayashi Fumiko's Hôrôki and Mass Culture." The Journal of Japanese Studies 29.1 (Winter 2003).
- "Colonialism and the Avant-garde: Kitagawa Fuyuhiko's Manchurian Railroad." Stanford Humanities Review. Special Issue, Movements of the Avant-garde. No. 7, vol. 1.
- Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi Kitano, by Casio Abe. Kaya/MUAE publishing, 2004.
- Maeda Ai, Text and the City: Essays on Japanese Modernity (Duke University Press, 2004). Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature 5.2 (Winter 2006).
When did you come to work at Swarthmore?
In the Fall of 2002.
What were you doing before you came here?
Teaching at Middlebury College.
What made you come here?
I see this position as a very exciting opportunity to help build a new Japanese section with offerings in Japanese language, literature, and culture, as part of continuing efforts to strengthen the Asian Studies program at Swarthmore.
What made you decide to study and then teach Japanese?
After visiting Japan as a high school student, I jumped at the opportunity to take courses in Japanese langauge at culture at Columbia University. I had a chance to study with some of the most well respected Asia scholars in the country, as well as to meet artists and writers from Japan and China who were visiting New York. After college, a two-year stay in Japan convinced me that I was on the right track, and that wanted to continue to study and teach about Japan.
What other languages do you know?
I know a little bit of French, Spanish, and Chinese. I really enjoy working in a Modern Languages department, where I get to hear these languages spoken every day!
Where has your language taken you (to live, to work, to study)?
After college, it took me to a small town in rural Tochigi Prefecture in Japan, where I taught English for two years on the JET Program. I've also spent quite a bit of time in Tokyo, which is true of many people who study Japan. And now it's taken me to Swarthmore!
Which places (abroad or in the US) are "your places," besides Swarthmore?
I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and still have family there, so that's one of my places. Going to college in New York City was a life-changing experience, so perhaps New York is more deeply engrained in my memory than any other. I'm very happy to be near Philadelphia now. I enjoy exploring cities and and getting to know their structures and textures, sights, sounds, and smells -- whether it be New York, Tokyo, or Philadelphia.
Describe a book or article you have written and what you learned from writing it.
I'm now writing a book about modernist writers in Japan in the 1920's, a time when Japan became very cosmopolitan and there was a tremendous amount of literary and artistic experimentation. It was also a time of social upheaval, with daily life being rapidly transformed by urbanization and new communications technologies. Political movements such as communism and anarchism were questioning the structure of society, and women were asserting a greater role in all facets of society. The book I'm writing explores how modernist literature responds to these material and social changes. I've also written several articles about writers who lived outside of the Japanese archipelago and wrote from the colonial periphery of the Japanese empire. Imperialism was also a part of Japanese modernity, and the complex relationship between Japan, the Japanese colonial territories, and the ajoining regions of Asia has been too often ignored in Japanese literary histories. Another issue I have followed in my research on Japanese modernism is how literature was transformed by the new media technologies of the day, such as radio, film, and innovations in the publishing industry itself. In my future research, I'm interested in tracing similar issues in contemporary literature, and exploring how literature adapts to the shifting mediascape, which is increasingly dominated by visual media and information technology.
What is much better in Japanese culture than anything you see in the US?
Well, my colleague Yoshiko Jo already said onsen (Japanese hot springs), so I guess I can't say that! On a different note, Japan today surely has one of the richest visual cultures in the world. Film, anime (Japanese animation), manga, photography, fashion, design, art and architecture-- all of these flourish in Japan through the work of very imaginative and talented artists. I hope to introduce some of the richness of contemporary Japanese visual culture through my various teaching activities at Swarthmore.