Prof. Ayako Kano

Ayako Kano

Graduate ChairProfessor, Japanese LiteraturePerformance, Gender Studies


841 Williams Hall

Office Hours
Fall 2017: on leave
  • BA, Keio University
  • MA, Cornell University
  • PhD, Cornell University
Research Interests

My research focuses on the intersection of gender, performance, and politics, as well as on Japanese cultural history from the late 19th century to the present. My first book focused on the first generation of actresses in modern Japanese theater. My second book examines Japanese feminist debates from the 1890s to present. I have also co-edited a volume on rethinking modern Japanese feminism. Current projects include a book on cinematic adaptations of Japanese literature, and a collaborative translation project of a popular text from the early modern period.

Courses Taught

Japanese Theater; Modern Japanese Literature; Contemporary Japanese Literature; Literary Theory and Criticism in Japan; Graduate Seminar on Modern Japanese Literature and Culture; Gender and Sexuality in Japan; Gender and Sexuality in East Asia; Advanced Japanese; Readings in Modern Japanese.

Selected Publications
  • Co-authored with Vera Mackie, “Is Shinzo Abe Really a Feminist?” East Asia Forum Quarterly. Online version:
  • Co-authored with Vera Mackie, “The Gender Fault-Line,” East Asia Forum Quarterly (July-September 2011): pp. 28-29.  Online version:
  •  “Backlash, Fight Back, and Back-Pedaling: Responses to State Feminism in Contemporary Japan,” International Journal of Asian Studies 8, no. 1 (2011): pp. 41-62.
  • “Amerika higashi kaigan de Nihon kenkyū ni tsuite kangaeru” アメリカ東海岸で日本研究について考える[Reflections on Japanese Studies on the U.S. East Coast] Nihon Gakuhō 日本学報[Japan studies report], no. 30 (March 2011): pp. 179-189.
  • “Towards a Critique of Transhistorical Femininity,” Gendering Modern Japanese History, ed.Barbara Molony and Kathleeen Uno (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard University Press, 2005): pp. 520-554.
  • “Women? Art? Gender? Chino Kaori and the Feminist Art History Debates,” in Review of Japanese Culture and Society, vol. 15 (December 2003): pp. 25-38.
  • “Visuality and Gender in Modern Japanese Theater: Looking at Salome,” in Japan Forum, special issue on modern Japanese visual culture, vol. 11 no. 1 (1999): pp. 43-55.
  • “Japanese Theater and Imperialism: Romance and Resistance,” in U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal, English version, no. 12 (1997): pp. 17-47.

Core Faculty in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program.Affiliated Faculty in Cinema Studies Program.Graduate Groups in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory; History.

CV (url)