Japan Studies Dissertation Reviews

Now in its second full season, “Japan Studies Dissertation Reviews” will continue to bring you friendly, non-critical overviews of recently defended, unpublished dissertations in this dynamic field. If you are interested in reviewing for the new site, or having your dissertation reviewed, please contact japanstudies@dissertationreviews.org.

Introducing Our Field Editors

Dennis Frost is Wen Chao Chen Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at Kalamazoo College. His first book, Seeing Stars: Sports Celebrity, Identity, and Body Culture in Modern Japan (Harvard Asia Center, 2011), traces the emergence and evolution of sports celebrity in Japan from the 1600s through the present, giving particular attention to the ways in which sports stars have both reflected and shaped society and body culture. He is currently working on two different projects. One is a study of sporting events for disabled athletes, which examines the different ways in which Japanese society has perceived and addressed disability in the postwar period, and the second is a comparative study examining the histories of several military “base towns” in Okinawa and other regions in Japan, which explores the U.S. military’s ongoing influence on the people, society, culture, and environment of post-war Japan. [Website here]


William Fleming is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures and Theater Studies at Yale. He specializes in the literature and cultural history of early modern Japan. His dissertation, entitled “The World Beyond the Walls: Morishima Chūryō (1756-1810) and the Development of Late Edo Fiction” (Harvard 2011), explores the rich interrelationship between early modern Japanese fiction and contemporary intellectual movements including nativist studies and inquiry into Dutch, vernacular Chinese, and Russian materials. The dissertation challenges the view of Edo fiction as largely isolated from outside influence and offers a new way of thinking about the transformation of gesaku, the period’s so-called “playful literature,” from a pastime of the intellectual elite into a form of true popular fiction. His current research interests include the representation of disease and the body in premodern Japanese literature and the reception of Chinese fiction in the late Edo period, with a particular focus on the case of Pu Songling’s celebrated collection of “strange” tales, Liaozhai zhiyi. [Website here]

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