This course is centered on urban popular culture, particularly that of Edo (present-day Tokyo) from the early 17th to the late 19th century. While there is a list of content that we will cover— woodblock prints, kabuki theater, pleasure quarters, commoner carnivals, popular literature, erotic art, and so on—we will not limit our investigations to the enumeration and chronological layout of a certain content. We will be as concerned with the concept of “play” and “pleasure” as we are with the content.
Professor of History
and Japanese Cultural Studies
Director of Asian Studies Program
Office: 241 Buttrick Hall
Office Hours: MW 10:00-11:30
My fields are modern Japanese history and cultural studies and postwar Okinawa. I received my Ph.D. from the East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department at the University of Chicago in 1992. My publications include Civilizations and Monsters: Spirits of Modernity in Meiji Japan (Duke, 1999), Beachheads: War, Peace, and Tourism in Postwar Okinawa(Rowman & Littlefield, 2012) and articles on war memorials and tourism in Okinawa. I'm currently researching another project on the idea of monsters in contemporary Japanese media and consumerism. My first publication related to that project appears in Mechademia 5: Fanthropologies: "Monstrous Media and Delusional Consumption in Kon Satoshi's Paranoia Agent." My courses range from surveys in Japanese cultural and social history to thematic courses in Japanese popular culture, anime, and the city of Edo-Tokyo. When I am not teaching or doing research or parenting, I am collecting, restoring, and using vintage film cameras, building pinhole cameras, and playing in the darkroom with chemicals of various grades of toxicity. My latest photographic endeavor is 19th-century wet plate collodion.