• PhD, Columbia University, 1979

Research Interests

  • Tokugawa and Meiji Japan
  • Western science in 19th century Japan
  • Education and literacy

Courses Recently Taught

  • EALC E200 Introduction to East Asia,
  • E231 Japan: The Living Tradition
  • EALC E350, Studies In East Asian Society
    The 19th Centuy Japanese Novel as History
    The Pacific War
    The Films of Kurosawa
  • EALC E354, Society and Education in Japan
  • EALC G358 Early Modern History of Japan

Awards and Distinctions

  • Guest Professor, University of Paris, (Spring 2003)
  • Research fellow at Nichibunken in Kyoto (2000-2001)
  • Department Chair, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (1998-2002)
  • Research fellow, Jimbun at Kyoto University (1994-95)
  • Department Chair, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (1990-1992)
  • Social Science Research Council grant (1989)
  • Japan Foundation fellowships for research in Japan (1988-1989)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities grant (1986)
  • Guest Professor, Columbia University (1984-1986)
  • Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Grant (1981-1982)

Publication Highlights

  • "Thought, Education, and Literacies in Early Modern Japan," in Japan Emerging, edited by Karl Friday, Westview Press, 2012
  • Popular Literacy in Early Modern Japan, University of Hawaii Press, 2007.
  • "Meiji Education," in Sources of Japanese Tradition", edited by T. de Bary, Columbia Univ . Press, 2005
  • "Who Can't Read or Write: Illiteracy in Meiji Japan," Monumenta Nipponica, Summer 2000.
  • Reader's Guide to Intermediate Japanese: A Quick Reference to Written Expressions, with Yasuko Ito Watt, 1998.
  • Proliferating Talent:Essays on Politics, Thought, and Education in the Meiji Era, translation of writings of Motoyama Yukihiko, edited with Jurgis Elisonas, 1997.
  • Private Academies of Tokugawa Japan, Princeton University Press, 1982.

My training and research interests straddle traditional disciplines and academic designations. I was trained in both Japanese history and comparative education, and have taught Japanese since early in my career. My main academic focus has been the history of Japanese education during the Tokugawa and Meiji periods (roughly from the early seventeenth to the beginning of the twentieth century). My current work on the history of literacy in Japan has forced me out of an earlier, and quite narrow, institutional interest, toward looking at culture and learning in Japanese society in very broad terms. Reading the extensive literature on literacy in Europe and the U.S. has provided theoretical perspective and given me a far more solid comparative base for understanding Japanese society than I ever had before. I am currently working on a book on the subject of literacy in Japanese history.