I have appointments in the History Department and the Asian Studies Program of Vanderbilt University where my teaching and research straddles modern Japanese cultural history and cultural studies. My first book, Civilization and Monsters: Spirits of Modernity in Meiji Japan (Duke UP, 1999), is a study of how traditional folk beliefs and a wider discourse on the mysterious and supernatural were reconfigured in the context of Japan’s modernization to serve the consolidation of a nation-state on the one hand and to offer a platform of critique of Japan’s path to modernization on the other. My second book serendipitously shifted from research sites in northern Japan to southern Okinawa (long story), Beachheads: War, Peace, and Tourism in Postwar Okinawa (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012) considers issues of tourism and war memorialization in postwar Okinawa. I’ve done several journal articles in this area, including “Waging Peace on Okinawa” that was cited as Honorable Mention for Best Article in the journal Critical Asian Studies in 2001 and a forthcoming piece in a volume on global WWII war remembrance. I’ve presented sections of these works over the years at many domestic and international fora of Japanese historical and cultural studies.
In addition to these fields of research, I have, through teaching of a Japanese anime course, developed a growing interest in film and media studies. I’ve embarked on a third book-length project, “The Medium is the Monster: Supernatural Circuits and Consumer Fantasies in Contemporary Japan,” which concerns the intersection of media, consumerism, and the monstrous in contemporary Japan. The article “Monstrous Media and Delusional Consumption in Kon Satoshi’s Paranoia Agent” in Mechademia vol. 5 (Fall 2010) is my first publication in this area and I have essays in the hopper on Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s film Kairo and Suzuki Koji’s The Ring Trilogy.