- Research areas:
- Material and Visual Culture
Born in Japan and having graduated from Tokyo Woman's Christian University and Waseda University with BA in English literature, I came to the U.S. as a Fulbright fellow. At the University of Washington, Seattle, I turned into one of the "eternal graduate students," a species that flourished during the early 70s as I drifted from American drama to 18th-century studies, English and French, onto Chinese literature, which eventually led me to Japanese literature. While drifting around among languages and majors and taking a leave from the graduate program once in a while, I taught Japanese and comparative literature and worked as translator/interpreter for business corporations. As I was about to complete my Ph.D., rather in spite of myself, I was lucky to be hired by Indiana University to teach in Comparative Literature and in East Asian Languages and Cultures.My job at IU has allowed me to explore and move around intellectually. I stepped out of New Criticism into psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, and then into semiotics. Kinsey Institute's holdings inspired me to study sexuality, which strengthened my on-going interest in comparative arts focused on early modern cultures, east and west. I am inclined by personality to work with other people but my belief in multidiciplinary investigations of any topic led me to direct many collaborative projects. The Tale of Genji conference and exhibition, which I co-organized with Eugene Eoyang in 1982, and the Sexuality in Edo Culture conference and exhibitions, which I organized in 1995, are among the largest events I have managed.In teaching, I have annually experimented with new directions and expanded my repertory. I began as a teacher of Japanese language and East Asian literatures in English, but I soon moved on to basic analysis/writing courses in western literature, courses in world literature and Japanese culture as well as some upper-level undergraduate courses in film studies, east-west relations, and theatre. I have become increasingly dialogic in my teaching so that my students' thinking and writing have come to shape each course more than my own ideas. Particularly, my graduate courses, which reflect my changing critical interests and speciality, are planned with maximum flexibility to accommodate the students' interests and needs in their syllabi. Now that students' interests and goals have become more diverse than ever, I try to give individual training to prepare each for conference presentations, publications, and job search. I am proud to say that the symposia that resulted from my seminars have been very successful.