Nobuko Yamasaki

Assistant Professor
Williams Hall, 484
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of Washington


Literature, Art, Film, Gender & Sexuality, Comparative Literature, 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" (ryōsai kenbo) in support of male empire-building. While in the graduate school of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Dr. Yamasaki 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 and literature, comparative literature, and women’s studies at the University of Washington and Kenyon College. She 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. Dr. Yamasaki publishes in both English and Japanese.    

Selected Recent Publications


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


·        "Ri Kōran: Posing and Passing as a 'Cultured Native'" (under review) 

·        Soshū no yoru (1941) ni okeru ‘konketsuji’ eno kyōfu,” Ekkyō bunka kenkyū (The Anthology of Transborder Cultural Studies). Osaka University, 2021, forthcoming.

·         “Ukai Satoshi shi no kichōkōen inshōki,” Proceedings of the Nihon Shakai Bungakukai: Bungaku kara yomitoku kansenshō. Tokyo: Shakai bungaku tsūshin vol. 115, 2021. 

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

·       “Hayashi Kyoko ‘Kōsa’ ni okeru nihonjinshōfu o megutte: ‘nihonjin no kuseni,’” Genbaku bungaku kenkyū (Journal of Genbaku Literature), vol. 16 (Genbaku bungaku kenkyūkai, 2017): 2-17. ( 

·       “Hayashi Kyōko: Kaku to teikoku to nihonjin shōfu,” Genbaku bungaku kenkyū kaihō 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.   

·       Mishima Yukio, “Dreams of Perfection” (under review).