Yuko Aoyama, Associate Professor and Henry J. Leir Faculty Fellow of Geography, Clark University

Dr. Aoyama is an economic/industrial geographer with expertise in global economic change, technological innovation, industrial organization, and cultural economy.  She has conducted research on the locational dynamics of Japanese multinationals, institutional foundations of small business policy in Japan and the US, and the employment structure of G-7 countries, as well as technology adoption by consumers in Japan.  Her current research projects include the organizational dynamics of the logistics industry and video game industry, and the role of consumption in globalization. 

Read more at http://www.clarku.edu/academiccatalog/facultybio.cfm?id=31#ixzz0GA50yvK2&A

Shalmit Bejarano, PhD Candidate, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

Shalmit Bejarano holds an MA in East Asian Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MA in Art History from Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.  A PhD student in the University of Pittsburgh’s History of Art and Architecture Department, Bejarano's research focuses on pictures of agriculture and sericulture in early modern Japan. Her study examines these images as part of wider social and intellectual discourses relating to the nature of the Japanese nation.

Read more at http://www.haa.pitt.edu/graduate/bejarano.html

Rebecca Carlson, PhD Candidate, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

Rebecca Carlson received an MFA in Film and Media Arts and an MA in Anthropology from Temple University. She is currently a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh studying video game production in Japan.

Clark Chilson, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Chilson received his PhD from Lancaster University (UK) and before coming to the University of Pittsburgh was the associate editor of Asian Folklore Studies and the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies for five years. His research interests include Japanese modern and pre-modern Buddhism and popular religion, ethnography and secretive societies. Dr. Chilson is currently working on a book entitled, The Consequences of Concealment: A Comparative Study of Two Underground Traditions of Shin Buddhism.

Read more at http://www.religiousstudies.pitt.edu/faculty/clarkchilson.php

Mia Consalvo,Visiting Associate Professor, Comparative Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, School of Media Arts and Studies, The Ohio University

Dr. Conslavo’s research focuses on the hybrid character of the global games industry, as well as gender and sexuality as related to digital gameplay. She is the author of Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames (MIT Press, 2007) and is the co-editor of The Blackwell Handbook of Internet Studies that will be published in late 2009. She currently serves as Vice-President of the Association of Internet Researchers, and on the steering committee of Women in Games International. Dr. Consalvo is a regular speaker at the annual Game Developers Conference, and has given more than 60 national and international conference and invited presentations.

Read more at http://www.tcomschool.ohiou.edu/faculty/consalvo.html

Jonathan Corliss, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh

Jonathan Corliss received his MA in Anthropology from Columbia University. His area of research is the global circulation of video games.

David M. Desser, Emeritus Professor, Cinema Studies, Comparative Literature, and EALC Research Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Desser is the author of numerous publications including The Samurai Films of Akira Kurosawa (UMI Research Press, 1983) and Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema (Indiana University Press, 1988). His major research interests include Asian Cinema, American Cinema and race and ethnicity in Cinema. He has also co-edited a number of volumes on cinema in Japan, Hong Kong and the United States. Dr. Desser is currently the editor of the National Film Traditions Series (Cambridge University Press).

Read more at http://www.cinema.uiuc.edu/faculty/desser.html

Karen M. Gerhart, Professor, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Gerhart’s research focuses on the relationship between art and social function and art and ritual. Her publications include The Eyes of Power: Art and Early Tokugawa Authority (University of Hawai’i Press, 1999) and articles on the influence of Chinese iconography, issues of patronage and travel, and the use of images in ritual context. Her most recent project, Material Culture of Death in Medieval Japan (2009), reconstructs death practices and associated visual culture developed for and by Japanese medieval elite during the 14th and 15th centuries.

Read more at http://www.haa.pitt.edu/faculty/gerhart.html


Peter Grilli, President, Japan Society of Boston

Peter Grilli is President of the Japan Society of Boston and a well-known specialist on Japanese history and culture. Raised in Japan for most of his childhood, he received BA and MA degrees in East Asian Studies from Harvard University; he has also studied and done graduate research at Waseda University and Tokyo University. Prior to his present position, he was Director of Film, Education, and Performing Arts Programs at the Japan Society of New York (1975-86); Director of The Japan Project of PBS (1986-89); and Director of the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University (1995-2000). Mr. Grilli is also well known as a writer and filmmaker, having made several award-winning documentary films on Japan. He has produced several major U.S. tours of Kabuki, Bunraku, Noh and Kyōgen , as well as other presentations of classical and contemporary Japanese performance events. In 2003, Mr. Grilli was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Government of Japan in recognition of his long service and activities in cultural exchanges between Japan and the United States.


Charles Shiro Inouye, Director of International Letters and Visual Studies and Professor of Japanese, Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures, Tufts University

Dr. Inouye is the author of Similitude of Blossoms, A Critical Biography of Izumi Kyoka (Harvard, 1998) and Japanese Gothic Tales by Izumi Kyoka, Volumes One and Two (Hawaii, 1994 and 2004). He received the 2003 U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission Prize, for the best English translation of a work of Japanese literature. His most recent work, Evanescence and Form: An Introduction to Japanese Culture (New York: Palgrave, 2008), contemplates the notion of hakanasa, the evanescence of all things, as understood by the Japanese and the ties between an epistemology of constant change and Japan’s formal emphasis on etiquette and visuality.
Read more at http://ase.tufts.edu/faculty-guide/fac/cinouye.gerrusasia.htm

Laurence R. Kominz, Director of the Portland State University Center for Japanese Studies and Professor of Japanese Language and Literature, Portland State University

Dr. Kominz specializes in Japanese drama and has also taken performance lessons in Japan in noh, kyogen, kabuki, and gidayu bushi (recitation for Bunraku puppet theatre). In Portland he studies nihon buyo (Japanese dance) under Fujima Kanriye as a member of the Fujinami-kai. His most recent book is Mishima on Stage: The Black Lizard and Other Plays (University of Michigan, 2007) an anthology of plays written by the Japanese author, Mishima.
Read more at http://www.fll.pdx.edu/html/faculty/facultybios/kominz.htm

Christina Laffin, Assistant Professor, Asian Studies, University of British Columbia

Dr. Laffin is currently researching medieval travel diaries by women and the conditions surrounding their production. Her doctoral dissertation, “Women, Travel, and Cultural Production in Japan: A Socio-Literary Analysis of Izayoi nikki and Towazugatari," involved medieval poetic practices, women’s history, and theories of travel, gender, and autobiography. Other interests include modern Japanese literature, women and religion, noh theatre, and comparative approaches to Japanese and European medieval literature.

Read more at http://www.asia.ubc.ca/index.php?id=5217

Adam Lowenstein, Associate Professor, English, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Lowenstein works on issues relating to the cinema as a mode of historical, cultural, and aesthetic confrontation. His teaching and research link these issues to the relays between genre films and art films, the construction of national cinemas, and the politics of spectatorship, with particular attention to American, British, Canadian, French, and Japanese cases. He is the author of Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film (Columbia University Press, 2005). Among his current projects is a book manuscript concerning cinematic spectatorship, surrealism, and the age of new media.

Read more at http://www.english.pitt.edu/people/faculty/lowenstein.html

Shelley Fenno Quinn, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures, Ohio State University

Dr. Quinn specializes in Japanese literature, culture, and the performance traditions of Japan, in particular, the arts of narrative recitation and Noh drama. She is author of Developing Zeami: The Noh Actor’s Attunement in Practice (University of Hawai'i Press, 2005), an interpretive study that traces the development of one seminal playwright/actor’s theory of how to best capture audience interest. Presently she is working on a book about the modern Noh actor Kanze Hisao’s efforts to enhance the appeal of Noh to non-traditional audiences. She is also interested in pedagogical theories of performance, and in the role of ritual in the co-creation of meaning in performance. Read more at http://deall.osu.edu/people/person.cfm?ID=181

Ethan Segal, Assistant Professor, History, Michigan State University

Dr. Segal’s primary interest is in medieval Japanese social and economic history. His forthcoming book, Coins, Trade, and the State: Economic Growth in Early Medieval Japan, highlights the ways in which the increasingly monetized economy of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries paralleled and contributed to shifts in political and social power in medieval Japan. Segal has also presented and published on topics including proto-nationalism in pre-modern East Asia, images of Japan and the Japanese in modern film, and the 2001 Japanese textbook controversy. His most recent project is an exploration of gender in early medieval warrior society.

Read more at http://www.history.msu.edu/view_profile.php?=98

Mae J. Smethurst, Professor, Classics, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Smethurst’s primary interests are ancient literary theory, drama, lyric poetry and comparative theatre. Since she was a Junior Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., her research has focused on the comparison of Greek tragedy and Japanese noh. In 1989 she published, The Artistry of Aeschylus and Zeami: A Comparative Study of Greek Tragedy and Noh (Princeton University Press), which received the AAUP Arisawa Memorial Award. She also published the book, Dramatic Representations of Filial Piety (East Asia Program, Cornell University, 2000), and was awarded a Japan-United States Friendship Commission Prize by Columbia University's Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture.  In 2003 she edited The Noh Ominameshi: A Flower Viewed From Many Directions (East Asia Program, Cornell University).

Read more at http://www.classics.pitt.edu/faculty/mae-smethurst.php

Richard J. Smethurst, Professor, History, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Smethurst specializes in the study of modern Japan, Japanese economic history and World War II in Asia. His most recent publication, From Foot Soldier to Finance Minister: Takahashi Korekiyo, Japan’s Keynes (Harvard University Press, 2007), underscores the profound influence of the seven-time Finance Minister of Japan, Takahashi Korekiyo, on the political and economic development of modern Japan. Dr. Smethurst is currently working on a project that studies the revival of the Japanese noh theater in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Read more at http://www.history.pitt.edu/faculty/smethurst.php

Goichi Suda, CEO, Grasshopper Manufacture Inc., Tokyo, Japan

Goichi Suda, also known as “Suda51,” is president of Grasshopper Manufacture, which develops and produces video game software, magazines, books, and movies. His works include Moonlight Syndrome for PlayStation,   The Silver Case, Flower, Sun and Rain, Michigan, killer7 for Nintendo GameCube and most recently, No More Heroes for Nintendo Wii.

Read more at http://www.grasshoppermanufacture.com/

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., Associate Professor, Theater Arts, Loyola Marymount University

Dr. Wetmore specializes in Japanese theatre, African theatre, Shakespeare, Greek tragedy and stage combat. He is the author of Athenian Sun in an African Sky: Modern African Adaptation of Classical Greek Tragedy (McFarland, 2001), Black Dionysus: Greek Tragedy and African American Theatre (McFarland, 2003), The Empire Triumphant: Race, Religion, and Rebellion in the Star Wars Films (McFarland, 2005), and Shakespeare and Youth Culture (Palgrave 2006). Dr. Wetmore is also the co-editor of Modern Japanese Theatre and Performance (Lexington, 2006) and editor of Revenge: East and West (forthcoming). In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Wetmore is an actor, director, stage combat choreographer, and comedian.

Read more at http://cfa.lmu.edu/programs/theatre/facstaff/Full-Time_Faculty/Kevin_J__Wetmore.htm


Funding is provided by: Toshiba International Foundation, Japan Iron and Steel Federation and Mitsubishi endowments at the University of Pittsburgh

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Photos by Leonard Witzel, Don Lee, Chris Jfry, Ching Yo and Danny Choo; Art by Kiely Houston | Updated September 18, 2009