Nobuko Yamasaki

Assistant Professor
Williams Hall, 424
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of Washington


Literature, Art, Film, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Literary Theory, History of Thought

Nobuko Ishitate-Okunomiya Yamasaki is an Assistant Professor of Japanese. Dr.Yamasaki's research and teaching focus on literature, film, art, media, and gender and sexuality studies. Her book, Prostitutes, Hostesses, and Actresses at the Edge of the Japanese Empire: Fragmenting History (2021), examines women’s bodies as battlefields, where asymmetrical power dynamics meet, compete and complicate one another, producing narratives to be challenged, fragmented, and re-articulated from within. It explores the fates of women who did not or could not buy into the Japanese imperial ideology of "good wives, wise mothers" (ryôsai kenbo) in support of male empire-building. While in the graduate school of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, she first came to the United States as an exchange student at Cornell University, where she earned an MA in Asian Studies. She then moved to Seattle. She earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Washington. Before coming to Lehigh, she taught Japanese language and literature, as well as women’s studies at Kenyon College. Dr.Yamasaki is now working on her second book on the theme of "passing" with members of Zainichi Consortium. She is one of the founding members of the Consortium, and its inuagural conference took place here at Lehigh University in 2017.   

Selected Recent Publications


·       Prostitutes, Hostesses, and Actresses at the Edge of the Japanese Empire: Fragmenting History (London and New York: Routledge, 2021). (; (


·       “Body as Battlefield,” Azalea, vol. 12 (Harvard University Korea Institute Publications, 2019): 391-414. (

·       “Hayashi Kyoko ‘Kôsa’ ni okeru nihonjinshôfu o megutte: ‘nihonjin no kuseni,’” Genbaku bungaku kenkyû (Journal of Genbaku Literature), vol. 16 (Genbaku bungaku kenkyûkai, 2017): 2-17. ( 

·       “Hayashi Kyôko: Kaku to teikoku to nihonjin shôfu,” Genbaku bungaku kenkyû kaihô, vol. 51 (May 2017). (

·       "Nejireta masukyurinitee," Toshoshimbun, Tokyo, July 30, 2016. (

·       “A review of The Female Gaze in Contemporary Japanese Literature, by Kathryn Hemmann,” Dissertation Reviews, January 2016. ​(


·       Edward Mack. “Josetsu” (Introduction). Trans. Nobuko Yamasaki. Nihongo tokuhon, 28 vols. (Tokyo: Bunsei Shoin, 2012): 14-21.