Kendall Heitzman, Ph.D.
My book Enduring Postwar: Yasuoka Shōtarō and Literary Memory in Japan (Vanderbilt University Press, 2019) looks at a prominent postwar Japanese writer through the lens of global memory studies. Yasuoka (1920–2013) was well aware of the power of collective memory to distort or erase variant experiences, and he was determined in his writing to valorize individual experience as a necessary point of resistance. I am also interested in 1950s and 1960s Japanese literature and film, war literature in general, memory studies, and “second-generation” war narratives—the vast body of written and visual texts that continue to be produced in surprising numbers even today by people with no direct memory of World War II or the early postwar period.
I am currently researching two interconnected projects: I am interested in a group of outward-looking poets who came to prominence in the 1960s, some of whom spent some time at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP), including Yoshimasu Gōzō and Shiraishi Kazuko. I have also been researching the history of Japanese writers in the IWP as well as the early days of the IWP in general. I have published translations of work by four recent IWP participants: Nakagami Nori, Shibasaki Tomoka, Fujino Kaori, and Takiguchi Yūshō.
I have longstanding interests in Japanese film (with a particular fondness for postwar melodramas and contemporary horror) and Japanese theater (with a particular interest in the history and practice of kyōgen, a traditional comic form).
- Enduring Postwar: Yasuoka Shōtarō and Literary Memory in Japan (Vanderbilt University Press, 2019)
- “Fujino Kaori: Fear in the Form.” US-Japan Women’s Journal 53 (2018): 96–101.
- “The World Too Much with Us in Japanese Travel Television” in Introducing Japanese Popular Culture (Routledge, 2018).
- “Shibasaki Tomoka’s Literature of Location.” US-Japan Women’s Journal 51 (2017): 96–101.
- “The Rise of Women Writers, the Heisei I-Novel, and the Contemporary Bundan” in The Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature (Routledge, 2016).
- “Parallel Universes, Vertical Worlds, and the Nation as Palimpsest in Murakami Ryū’s The World Five Minutes from Now.” Mechademia 10 (2015): 252–66.
- Takiguchi Yūshō, “Chandramohan.” Published in Takiguchi Yūshō, Yagate wasureru katei no tochū [In a moment along the way that we will all inevitably forget] (Numabooks, 2019). [essay]
- Fujino Kaori, “Today’s Modern Spirits.” US-Japan Women’s Journal 53 (2018): 102–13. [short story]
- Nakagami Nori, “The Phone Call.” Cha 36 (2017). [short story]
- Shibasaki Tomoka, “Right Here, Right Here.” US-Japan Women’s Journal 51 (2017): 80–95. [short story]
- Research Fellowship, Japan Foundation, 2022-23, for research at Waseda University in Tokyo
- Postdoctoral Fellowship, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), 2014-15, for research at Waseda University in Tokyo
I teach courses in Japanese literature, culture, film, theater, and translation.
Courses taught every year:
- JPNS:1506 - Asian Humanities: Japan (3 s.h.)
- JPNS:3201 - Workshop in Japanese Literary Translation (3 s.h.)
Courses taught every other year:
- JPNS:3203 - Modern Japanese Fiction in Translation (3 s.h.)
- JPNS:3205 - Major Authors in Modern Japanese Literature (3 s.h.)
- JPNS:3208 - Introduction to Japanese Film (3 s.h.)
- JPNS:3210 - Japanese Theater (3 s.h.)