Nobuko Yamasaki

Associate Professor
B.A. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
M.A. Cornell University
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of Washington
Williams Hall 484


Japanese & Japanophone Literature, Comparative Literature, Film, Art, Memory & History, Gender & Sexuality

Nobuko Ishitate-Okunomiya Yamasaki is an Associate Professor. Dr. Yamasaki is a core faculty member of the Asian Studies and the Women, Gender & Sexulity Studies. She is a scholar of Comparative Literature, Japanese and Japanophone Literature. Her research is intersectional, being theoretically oriented, grounded in history of thought, multi-lingual, and trans-regional. Her research and teaching focus on literature, literary theory, film, art, 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" (ryōsai 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 received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington. Before coming to Lehigh, she taught Japanese language, comparative literature, women’s studies, and academic writing at the University of Washington and Kenyon College. She is now working on her second book (edited volume), Passing, Posing, Persuasionwith members of Zainichi Consortium. The book will be published from the University of Hawaii Press in November 2023.  She is one of the founding members who formed the Consortium. Its inaugural conference took place here at Lehigh University in 2017. She publishes in both English and Japanese. Dr. Yamasaki has been appointed as an executive committee member for the MLA (Japanese since 1900 forum).   

Selected Recent Publications



Book Chapters:



  • • Mishima Yukio, "Dreams of Perfection" (U of Hawaii Press, forthcoming). 
  • • Mishima Yukio, "A Long Journey of 17 Minutes" (U of Hawaii Press, forthcoming). 
  • • Edward Mack. "Josetsu” (Introduction). Trans. Nobuko Yamasaki. Nihongo tokuhon, 28 vols. (Tokyo: Bunsei Shoin, 2012): 14-21.