My research field is modern and contemporary Japanese literature, with a particular focus on issues of postcoloniality, language politics, genre, and cultural studies. My first monograph, Colonizing Language: Cultural Production and Language Politics in Modern Japan and Korea, was published by Columbia University Press in 2018. In the book, I investigate how linguistic nationalism and national identity intersect in the formation of modern literary canons through an examination of Japanese-language cultural production by Korean and Japanese writers from the 1930s through the 1950s, analyzing how key texts were produced, received, and circulated during the rise and fall of the Japanese empire. The research and writing of this project was funded through generous grants from the Northeast Asia Council of AAS, Peter Wall Institute at UBC, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and SSHRC (Insight Development Grant).
A related article, entitled “National Language, Imperialization, and the Gendered Aporia of Empire,” was published in positions: asia critique in 2016. Additional publications include contributions in The Funambulist, Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies, The New Yorker, and Waseda RILAS Journal. I am also an active translator, and was a recipient of the William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize in 2011 for my translation of Kim Saryang’s “Pegasus” (Tenma).
My current research project investigates the discursive formation and theoretical limits of “repatriation literature” (hikiage bungaku) through an examination of fiction, essays, and memoirs on the subject of repatriation to Japan, by both Japanese and non-Japanese writers. This project is being funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant (2018–2023).
When I first moved to Vancouver, a friendly taxi driver pointed out that I have a persistent connection to the word “Columbia” – I was born and raised in the suburbs of the District of Columbia; I received my Ph.D. from Columbia University; and now I work in British Columbia. A strange connection, but also a very welcome one!